Bill will require locator beacons to be in offshore workers life vests

Jun 14, 2023

Beacons on life vest

LOUISIANA (KLFY) – Louisiana offshore workers may soon feel safer than before after House Bill 398 recently passed.

It will be mandatory for all personnel to have locator beacons on their life vests when traveling to and from rigs.

The bill’s passing has the chance to save offshore personnel’s lives. According to Louisiana Representative Troy Romero of District 37, it’s been a long time coming.

“They thought it was the right timing and that it was affordable, and the industry wanted to do what they could to help protect those people that are working offshore when flying on those helicopters,” said Romero.

The bill is based off of Jacob’s Law which was enacted in 2011. A helicopter crash took the life of four people including Jacob Matt. His family fought to have tracker beacons on life vests mandatory. Instead, companies had the option to put beacons on vests. Now, the passing of 398 requires all personnel to have a G.P.S. beacons on their vest in case a tragedy strikes.

“That industry is one of the main stays in Louisiana for many years. Whatever we can do to work with the industry to help it be safer is important,” Romero said.

The bill passed unanimously in the senate and the house. The governor officially signed the bill into law June 7. Mike Moncla with the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association (LOGA) said it is necessary for the industry.

“We felt that it was a good bill to get behind. L.O.G.A. certainly, supported the bill with green cards all the way through the session and we are happy that it ended up on the governor’s desk,” said Moncla.

Misty Pitre, the sister of Quinon Pitre, who was killed in the Seacor tragedy shared a statement, saying, “It helps my heart to know that these people will have that extra layer of protection that if this kind of tragedy were to ever happen again, they can be found in a timely manner and no family member will ever have to live with not knowing where their loved one is,” said Pitre.

HB 398 officially goes into effect on January 1st of 2024 to give companies time to make necessary changes.

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