GFP News - June 21, 2016
Importance of Boating Safety this Summer
Pierre, S.D. - With the approach of the Fourth of July holiday, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) is joining a national effort to highlight boating safety.
Operation Dry Water will take place June 24-26, 2016, promoting boating safety and responsible use of alcohol while boating across the country.
Alcohol consumption and boating continues to be an issue and is listed as the leading known contributing factor in all fatal boating accidents nationwide. As part of the national event, GFP will conduct extra boating safety patrols statewide to promote safe and responsible boating practices heading into the Fourth of July holiday.
"Our conservation officers conduct these safety patrols throughout the year," said Brandon Gust, GFP boating law administrator. "As we move into the peak boating season, we feel we can use our presence to share the message that safety is an essential element of any boating experience."
Having a safe and sober operator is always a critical part of boating, and Gust added there are other items to account for as well.
"Before heading onto the water, check your equipment," he said. "Fire extinguishers, life jackets, throwable flotation devices and other equipment must be in good working condition. The best way to prevent an unwanted tragedy on the water is to be prepared."
The majority of boats in South Dakota are required to carry:
- One U.S. Coast Guard-approved wearable, properly sized personable flotation device for each person aboard.
- One U.S. Coast Guard-approved throwable type flotation device (seat cushion or ring buoy) for vessels 16 feet or longer.
- One U.S. Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher of B-1 type or larger for vessels with enclosed gas compartments.
Gust noted that state regulations require all children under age seven to wear an approved personal flotation device anytime a boat is moving at greater than no-wake speed. He recommends taking the next step and keeping a personal flotation device on all occupants in the boat at all times.
If boaters are uncertain what safety equipment they are required to have onboard, Gust suggests they view the 2016 South Dakota Boating Handbook online at gfp.sd.gov/fishing-boating/boating.