DMR wants boaters to have the 411 before they hit the water

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Enjoying the water is part of the South Mississippi way of life but along with the fun comes responsibilities. The Departments of Marine Resources and Wildlife and Fisheries offer free boat and water safety classes to make those behind the boating wheel know the laws of the water.

Seventeen people eager to know more about the safety and responsibility of boating showed up in Bay St. Louis for a class to get their boating license.

Instructor John White said the knowledge they take away is vital.

"It's important for everyone that is going to boat on the water to know the basics and safety features of the water," White said. "Accidents are going to happen that is just how it is but being trained and ready for it is the best thing you can do."

Before you leave the dock you must have a life jacket for everyone on board.

"One of the largest problems we run into in the beginning of the season is people get excited about the weather being good and want to take their boat out for the first time and they forget to bring an extra life jacket or forget flares or other safety equipment," White explained.

Once you have the required gear and launch always drive on the right side of the water.

"It is important that if someone is broken down on the water anybody should stop and help them if they can and render assistance, if you do see an accident you should go over and try to render help," White added.

Also if you are on a Jet Ski jumping the wake of boats, it maybe fun, but if it is within 100 feet it is both dangerous and illegal.

"They try and get close to each other and we get out and remind them of the safety issues and the distance they need to be," White said.

"We want you to be safe we are not out there to penalize anybody or cost anybody any money. We just don't want to see people lose their lives that's all," White said.

If you were born after June 30, 1980 you are required to take a class like this one in order to drive a boat.

To find an upcoming class in your area click here or call The Department of Marine Resources at 228-523-4134.

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