A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries official reminded festival goers of the boating safety checklist to make for smooth sailing for the 2012 Contraband Days Pirate Festival.

"We're going to be out there on the water in Prien Lake and Lake Charles, along with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office and the US Coast Guard," said Senior Agent Beau Robertson with the La. Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries. " And take a trash bag with you because we will be enforcing the litter laws."
Robertson gave his 3-point checklist:

1) CHECK FIRE EXTINGUISHERS AND LIFE JACKETS -- make sure the extinguishers are still good and make sure there are enough lifejackets on board your boat. Children under the age of 17 need to be wearing a life jacket on-board a boat or personal watercraft.

2) BRING PLENTY OF WATER -- Water, water, everywhere but you need more than you think. Robertson said that if you plan on drinking alcoholic beverages in the hot sun, make sure that you stay hydrated. Not to mention, Robertson said, that driving a boat while intoxicated is the same as driving a car: it's a violation. He said that he has noticed in more recent years, an increase in "designated drivers" for boats. This, he said, is a good thing. So, bring along a designated driver who has not been drinking.

3) BE MINDFUL OF THE WATER AREAS -- Be aware of your own wake. If your wake causes damage to someone's property, the captain of the boat is responsible. Also, be careful of channels in Prien Lake and Lake Charles, near the banks and shorlines, it may be more shallow than you think and could cause an accident.

"All the rules of the road, as far as navigation, apply to  driving boats and watercraft," said Robertson.

"Also take care of everything you take out: food, bottles, cans, and wrappers," he said. "When you get back to the boat launch, dispose of your trash in the proper place."