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Boating incidents in Livingston Parish result in boating safety arrest and citations

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents are investigating two boating incidents that took place on March 13 on the Amite River in Livingston Parish that resulted in alleged boating safety violations.

Agents are investigating a collision between an airboat and surface drive vessel that occurred on the Amite River around 11:30 a.m. on March 13.  Agents determined that the operator of the airboat was on the wrong side of the river and violated the “Rules of the Road for Vessels”.

Agents cited the operator of the airboat, Brandon Hoover, 34, of Prairieville, for careless operation of a vessel.  Both vessels sustained significant damage, but no one was injured.

Agents are also investigating a single vessel incident that occurred in the Upper Amite River around 10 p.m. on March 13.  An airboat attempted to pas under the Old Amite River Bridge at Hwy. 22 when it collided with the bridge ejecting the operator and a passenger into the water without wearing a personal flotation device.  Both the operator and passenger were able to swim to shore uninjured.

Agents arrested the operator of the airboat, Benjie Cowart, 56, of Maurepas, for driving a vessel while impaired (DWI), and careless operation of a vessel.

A DWI on the water carries the same penalties as a DWI on the road and brings a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail for the first offense.  A DWI on the water also includes loss of driving and boating privileges.  Careless operation of a vessel brings a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to 30 days in jail.