Louisiana's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is offering seven free boating education courses around the state this week.
The effort is part of a national Spring Aboard-Take a Boating Education Course campaign.
Boating education courses are mandatory for anyone in Louisiana born after Jan. 1, 1984, who operates a motorboat over 10 horsepower. The wildlife and fisheries department says its safe boating education program, started in 2003, has certified more than 99,000 boaters.
The department says U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that in cases where the level of boater education is known, 80 percent of deaths in boating accidents happened when the operator hadn't taken any education course or instruction.
Information about the free courses is available online at: www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses .