- Associated Press - Saturday, August 16, 2014

THIBODAUX, La. (AP) - The Lafourche Parish Council is expected to consider a measure Aug. 25 to outlaw swimming at or near parish-owned or operated boat launches.

The Daily Comet reported (https://bit.ly/1uWOgMQ) the proposal provides that violators could be fined up to $500 and be jailed for 30 days.

Councilman Phillip Gouaux authored the proposal. He said swimming near launches is a particular problem in the areas around Lockport.

“There has been a lot of recreational-type swimming at the boat launches. Anytime you put any human flesh around propellers, you’re bound to have some serious problems. And that’s what we’re trying to avoid,” Gouaux said.

Although there haven’t been many recent injuries to swimmers by boats in the area, council members said the proposal is designed to head off any future incidents.

“It’s very unsafe,” Gouaux said. “It’s so time consuming for people trying to launch to make sure they don’t launch their boat into a swimmer,” he said.

The measure doesn’t include a distance stipulation, though one likely be included when the ordinance reaches the council for a vote.

Gouaux said he thinks swimmers should be at least 1,500 feet away from a launch.

“I think it’s a good idea, because it can be very dangerous to swim right by the boat launch itself,” Lafourche recreation director Jennifer Dufrene said.

The measure is designed as a stopgap until construction of a parish swimming pool in Lockport is completed.

After land at Louisiana Highway 305 and Louisiana Highway 655 was donated by Hugh Caffrey of Valentine Chemical Co. in June 2013, the Parish Council approved a roughly $4 million pool and community center project.

The cost of the pool is about $1.5 million, but parish administrators said Lafourche will have to find only $500,000 of the cost.

The majority of the $1 million of the project budget will come from money left over from the former home mortgage authority.

Dufrene said she believes construction of the poll will begin within 18 months.


Information from: Daily Comet, https://www.dailycomet.com

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