One of Jefferson Parish's greatest assets is its direct access to a variety of water resources. From Lake Ponchartrain, to the Mississippi River, to the Gulf of Mexico and all of the bayous, lakes, canals and bays in between, the citizens and visitors of our parish truly get to experience our "sportsman's paradise".
With all of water in our parish, boating, both commercial and recreational, has always been part of our cultural heritage. Unfortunately, as the number of boats entering the water increases, the number of accidents also increases.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has primary responsibility for patrolling the interior waterways of the parish, including Lake Ponchartrain and the many bayous and lakes in the southern part of the parish. The U.S. Coast Guard operates mostly offshore and in and around the Mississippi River and Grand Isle Gulf Shore area.
The JPSO Land, Air, and Sea Emergency Recue (LASER) Division assists these agencies in patrolling the waterways and responding to emergencies when called upon. We have a number of boats and divers on stand-by. Our departmental helicopter is also used for overhead searches or rescues at times.
Boating can be a very enjoyable experience when done properly. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries offers a "Boating Basics Class" that includes information on how to choose a boat, boat classifications, hulls, legal requirements, navigation rules, how to read navigation charts, and related subjects. The classes typically last 6 to 8 hours and can be completed in a day. Completion of the course results in the student being issued a "vessel operator's license".
The JPSO strongly encourages your participation in this class.
To report the hazardous operation of a boat or any other boating emergency, dial 911.