The early summer months are the most popular times for dredging sites to pop up near rivers and other bodies of water. Most of the activity occurs in the early months of the summer as many states are trying to balance out their waters from all the spring flooding they received.
Unfortunately, the flooding in 2019 has been brutal. Thanks to the record-breaking floods earlier this year from various storms, many sites began around the middle of spring and have had to alter their strategies to deal with the excessive waters. As a result, many commercial fishers in Louisiana have had to deal with dredging sites in their work routes this year. Those unaware of the potential safety hazards within these areas are putting their lives on the line.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Coast Guard closed the Calcasieu River Ship Channel to investigate a crash that occurred in the early hours of the morning. Two people had struck a dredging pipe with their fishing boat. The Coast Guard found one dead in the water without a life jacket while the other was in the boat with injuries.
Following the incident, the Coast Guard warned other boaters to be careful when navigating through areas that have dredging operations whether they are active or not. They advise those going through these channels to be on the lookout for possible obstacles, operate at a safe speed and to wear their life jackets to avoid ending up like the unfortunate victim.
How commercial fishers can prepare
Aside from following the Coast Guard’s advice, commercial fishers should check to see if there are any dredging sites within their planned routes prior to getting on the boat. That way, they could either approach the channel very carefully or plan another way to reach their destination.
It’s also worth noting that some people believe the boat crashed because the dredging pipes were not properly lit up at night. Boaters that plan on sailing through the channels during the late hours of the day should make sure that their lights follow the state qualifications and give them enough room to see what is in the water in front of them.
If an injury does occur during this brutal flooding season, commercial fishers or their families should seek assistance from someone with experience in maritime law to help them earn workers’ compensation.