You can study for and take the South Dakota approved boating safety course.

With common sense, you can have fun and still be a responsible boater.

  • Wear your life jacket. Always.
  • Make sure your boat has ALL required safety equipment.
  • Avoid alcohol while boating. Alcohol use affects judgment, vision, balance, and coordination. Reports suggest that alcohol was a contributing factor in about one in five boating fatalities.
  • Complete an approved boating safety course. You may save on your boat insurance, and you most certainly will be a more knowledgable operator for it.
  • Know the rules. They were developed for your safety, and the safety of those around you.
  • Don't overload. Know the capacity of your boat and stay within those limits.
  • Boat with a partner, and let family or friends know of your boating plans.
  • Check the weather forecast.

low head dams - drowning machines

GF&P, Sioux Falls Fire and Rescue and DENR recently put together this video on the dangers of Low Head dams.


Basic safety tips for boating apply to personal watercraft such as jet skis.

  • Always wear your life jacket
  • Make sure your craft has all required safety equipment
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Boat with family and friends, and if you are going to go out alone make sure that someone knows your plans
  • Check the weather forecast

Steering and stopping
Your personal watercraft has no brakes. Here are basic safety tips for steering and stopping your vessel.

Engine Cutoff
Most personal watercraft have an emergency ignition safety switch. Knowledge of this is a vital part of operating your vessel.

Basics of operation
Courteous consideration of those around you and other boats will go a long way towards making your personal watercraft experience a pleasant one.

SD Cooperative Boat Wash Program

Help prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species:
Wash your boat and trailer!

Boating Safety Resources

Wear It! - a site promoting boaters to always were a life jacket. is a gathering place for good information on boating.

Tread Lightly! is a national nonprofit organization with a mission to promote responsible outdoor recreation through ethics education and stewardship.

The United States Coast Guard sets national guidelines for boating standards and safety practices.