Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

May Highlights Safe Boating

A safe boating public awareness campaign held annually in May serves as a good reminder for boaters heading into summer.

 

A boat should have enough life jackets on board for all passengers. North Dakota law requires all children ages 10 and younger to wear a personal flotation device while in boats of less than 27 feet in length. The law also requires all personal watercraft users to wear a life jacket, as well as anyone towed on skis, tubes, boards or other similar devices. However, state law allows an individual who is at least 16 years of age to windsurf or boardsail without wearing a PFD.

 

Water users should make sure to wear life jackets that are the appropriate size and in good condition. Failure to wear a personal flotation device is the main reason people lose their lives in water recreation accidents.

 

Water skiers and tubers should wear a life jacket with four nylon straps rather than one with a zipper, because straps are stronger than zippers upon impact with water. Anglers and persons paddling a canoe or paddleboard should opt for a PFD that is comfortable enough to wear for an entire outing.

 

It is also important that children wear a PFD while swimming. Swimmers should know the water’s depth, as serious injuries can occur from diving. Large objects hidden below the water’s surface can lead to significant injury.

 

North Dakota boaters also are reminded that marine VHF radios are an important part of boat safety that should not be improperly used by operators. These radios are intended for boat operators who are in distress and facing an emergency situation.

 

Regulations to help ensure safe boating this summer are found in the North Dakota Boat and Water Safety Guide.

Missouri River System Boat Ramp Status

Anglers looking to enjoy the nice weather this weekend by fishing open water on the Missouri River System can check the status of boat ramps at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov.

Game and Fish will post ramp status updates as they occur.

Department personnel encourage anglers to wait their turn at boat ramps, practice social distancing and follow other guidelines for minimizing the risk of spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Operation Dry Water

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will again participate in Operation Dry Water as part of a nationally coordinated effort to increase knowledge about the dangers of boating under the influence. The goal is to reduce the number of accidents and deaths associated with alcohol and drug use on state waterways.

 

Operation Dry Water weekend, July 5-7, is the national weekend of heightened enforcement effort directed at boating under the influence laws and recreational boater outreach.

 

While informing and educating boaters about the hazards and negative outcomes associated with boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a year-round effort, on ODW weekend the Game and Fish Department’s game wardens will be focused on the water, informing boaters about safe boating practices, and removing impaired operators from the water.

 

Tips to staying safe on the water:

  • Boat sober – alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths. Alcohol and drugs use impairs a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.
  • Wear your life jacket – 85 percent of drowning victims nationwide were not wearing a life jacket.
  • Take a boating safety education course - 71 percent of deaths nationwide occurred on boats where the operator had not received boating safety instruction.

Boaters Reminded to Report Accidents

Regardless of how safe and cautious boaters are on the water, sometimes an accident does happen. If a boating accident involves injury, death or disappearance of a person, or if property damage exceeds $2,000, an accident report must be filled out and sent to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

 

An accident report involving injury, death or disappearance of a person must be submitted to the department within 48 hours of the occurrence. A boat operator has five days to file a report in cases where damage to property exceeds $2,000.

 

A boat accident form is available by visiting the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov, at any Game and Fish office or by contacting a local game warden.

 

Reminder: Regardless of how safe and cautious boaters are on the water, sometimes an accident does happen. If a boating accident involves injury, death or disappearance of a person, or if property damage exceeds $2,000, an accident report must be filled out and sent to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. An accident report involving injury, death or disappearance of a person must be submitted to the department within 48 hours of the occurrence. A boat operator has five days to file a report in cases where damage to property exceeds $2,000. Boating accident forms are available online at https://gf.nd.gov/gnf/boating/docs/boating-accident-report-form.pdf  or by contacting a local game warden.

National Campaign Encourages Boat Safety

A national safe boating campaign kicking off March 17-23 encourages boat operators to take a certified boat safety course.

Spring Aboard – Take a Boating Education Course wants boaters to get educated prior to the start of the boating season.

State Game and Fish Department education coordinator Brian Schaffer recommends all boaters take the state’s boating basics course, however, North Dakota state law requires only youngsters ages 12-15 must pass the course before they operate a boat or personal watercraft with at least a 10 horsepower motor by themselves.

In addition, some insurance companies give adult boat owners who pass the course a discount on boat insurance.

The course is available for home-study from the Game and Fish Department’s Bismarck office. Two commercial providers also offer the course online, and links to those sites are found on the department’s website at gf.nd.gov.

While the home-study course is free, students will be charged a fee to take it online. The online provider charges for the course, not the Game and Fish Department. The fee stays with the online provider.

Upon completion of the online test, and providing a credit card number, students will be able to print out a temporary certification card, and within 30 days a permanent card will be mailed.

The course covers legal requirements, navigation rules, getting underway, accidents and special topics such as weather, rules of the road, laws, life saving and first aid.

For more information on boating safety contact Schaffer by email at ndgf@nd.gov; or call 701-328-630

Boat North Dakota Course

Boat owners are reminded that children ages 12-15 who want to operate a boat or personal watercraft alone this summer must first take the state’s boating basics course.

North Dakota Game and Fish Department education coordinator Brian Schaffer recommends all boaters take a boater education course, however state law requires only youngsters ages 12-15 must pass the course before they operate a boat or personal watercraft with at least a 10 horsepower motor by themselves. In addition, some insurance companies give adult boat owners who pass the course a discount on boat insurance.

The course is available for home-study from the Game and Fish Department’s Bismarck office. Two commercial providers also offer the course online, and links to those sites are found on the department’s website at gf.nd.gov.

While the home-study course is free, students will be charged a fee to take it online. The online provider charges for the course, not the Game and Fish Department. The fee stays with the online provider.

Upon completion of the online test, and providing a credit card number, students will be able to print out a temporary certification card, and within 10 days a permanent card will be mailed.

The course covers legal requirements, navigation rules, getting underway, accidents and special topics such as weather, rules of the road, laws, life saving and first aid.

For more information contact Schaffer by email at ndgf@nd.gov; or call 701-328-6300.

Boat North Dakota Course

Boat owners are reminded that children ages 12-15 who want to operate a boat or personal watercraft alone this summer must first take the state’s boating basics course.

North Dakota Game and Fish Department education coordinator Brian Schaffer recommends all boaters take a boater education course, however state law requires that only youngsters ages 12-15 must pass the course before they operate a boat or personal watercraft with at least a 10 horsepower motor by themselves. In addition, some insurance companies give adult boat owners who pass the course a discount on boat insurance.

The course is available for home-study from the Game and Fish Department’s Bismarck office. Two commercial providers also offer the course online, and links to those sites are found on the department’s website at gf.nd.gov.

While the home-study course is free, students will be charged a fee to take it online. The online provider charges for the course, not the Game and Fish Department. The fee stays with the online provider.

Upon completion of the online test, and providing a credit card number, students will be able to print out a temporary certification card, and within 10 days a permanent card will be mailed.

The course covers legal requirements, navigation rules, getting underway, accidents and special topics such as weather, rules of the road, laws, life saving and first aid.

For more information contact Schaffer by email at ndgf@nd.gov; or call 701-328-6300.

Have You Seen? Operation Dry Water

 

 

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is participating in “Operation Dry Water,” a nationwide effort aimed at reducing boating while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Learn more in this week’s webcast with game warden Jackie Lundstrom.The video is here or ://gf.nd.gov/publications/television/outdoors-online-webcast.

​And if you’ve ever considered a career as a game warden, or have a friend, neighbor, son or daughter with an interest, the next game warden exam isAugust 5. Full details available right here.​ or here: http://gf.nd.gov/news/game-warden-exam-set-aug-5