Planning to Go Duck Hunting? Here's Your Checklist

The U.S. Coast Guard is reminding boaters to remain vigilant and prepared during the waterfowl and duck-hunting season in Louisiana.

The Coast Guard offers the following safety tips:

--Dress for the water temperature, not just the air temperature. Wear layers if cooler weather and bring an extra set of clothes in case you get wet.

--Be cautious when launching your boat from a vehicle. Beware of your surroundings and use a spotter if needed.

--Be sure everyone aboard your boat is wearing their life jacket – even experienced swimmers.

--Always boat responsibly, including following navigational rules and boating sober.

--File a float plan with someone you trust that includes details about the trip.

--Prepare your boat and schedule a free Vessel Safety, Check with your local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadron.

--Don’t exceed your boat’s capacity by over-packing; your boat may become unstable and could capsize.

--Stay up-to-date on the latest marine weather forecast prior to going out.

--Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning, a colorless and odorless gas that can poison or kill.

--Keep in touch with more than a cell phone. VHF radios, satellite phones, emergency position indicating radio beacons and personal locator beacons can all contribute in an emergency.

--Don’t panic if you fall into the water. Stay afloat with the help of your life jacket, regain control of your breathing and keep your head above water in vision of rescuers. Stay with the boat if possible.

"We encourage the boating public to enjoy the natural resources ... but in a safe manner," said Commander Zachary Ford, a Coast Guard response chief.

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