PIERRE, S.D. (KELO AM) -- The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) is participating in a national effort called Operation Dry Water, June 27-29, 2014, to promote safe and sober boating across South Dakota.“GFP conservation officers conduct routine boating safety patrols throughout the year,” stated Brandon Gust, GFP boating law administrator. “Operation Dry Water offers an opportunity for conservation officers to spread the message of safe and sober boating.” As a reminder, drinking and boating is not illegal in South Dakota.
However, the same laws apply when operating a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol as they do when operating a motor vehicle. “Never choose to boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Designate a sober operator to ensure everyone stays safe during the boating season,” said Gust.Â Approximately 17 percent of all boating fatalities nationwide are alcohol-related. As part of the national effort, GFP will conduct additional boating safety patrols across the state this summer to promote safe and responsible boating practices.
Boaters also want to check safety equipment before heading out on to the water. Fire extinguishers, life jackets, throwable seat cushions and other equipment must be in proper working condition. For more details on boating safety tips, please visit http://gfp.sd.gov/fishing-boating/boating/default.aspx.
For information on the latest rules and regulations, please pick up a copy of the 2014 South Dakota Boating Handbook at the nearest GFP office or visit http://www.boat-.com/assets/pdf/handbook/sd_handbook_entire.pdf.
About Operation Dry Water: In 2009, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators teamed up with the United States Coast Guard to launch Operation Dry Water (ODW). ODW is scheduled the weekend preceding the Fourth of July holiday on an annual basis to promote boating safety and responsible use of alcohol while boating. GFP has been a part of ODW since its inception and although boating accidents in South Dakota have been down the last few years the number of arrests for boating under the influence has been on a steady increase.Â To learn more about this national effort, please visit http://operationdrywater.org/.