Conservation Corner

Conservation Corner by Chad Morrow As spring temperatures begin to increase, so does the traffic on South Dakota's lakes and river systems. Before heading out on the water this year, please take a minute to inspect your boat and more importantly your boat's safety equipment. Doing so will ensure a safer and more enjoyable day on the water.

The following safety equipment is required in order to operate a boat on public waters of South Dakota. Most boats in South Dakota are Class A or Class 1 type.

Class A Boats � Boats less than 16 feet long and all canoes and kayaks must have the following safety equipment:


* A U.S. Coast Guard approved wearable PFD for each person aboard.


* Proper lights displayed sunset to sunrise.


* One Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher of B-1 or larger unless boat construction doesn't allow explosive or flammable gases or vapors to be trapped.

Class 1 Boats � Boats 16 to 26 feet long, except canoes and kayaks, must have the following safety equipment:


* A U.S. Coast Guard approved wearable PFD for each person aboard.


* A U.S. Coast Guard approved throwable flotation device (Type IV cushion or ring buoy).


* One Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher of B-1 or larger unless boat construction doesn't allow explosive or flammable gases or vapors to be trapped.


* Proper lights displayed sunset to sunrise.


* A whistle or other sound-producing mechanical device capable of a two-second blast audible for at least one-half mile.

Also, owners of a boat propelled by a motor over 6 hp may not allow youths under 12 years of age to operate the boat unless accompanied by a person at least 18 years of age. Another new regulation also went into effect last summer that many of you may not be aware of concerning children under 7 years of age. Boat operators, when operating at greater than no-wake speed, are required to ensure that each child under 7 years of age on board is wearing a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket unless the child is within a cabin or below deck.

Please have a safe and enjoyable boating season and I hope to see you on the water. Again, if you have any questions on South Dakota's boating regulations, or anything else please don't hesitate to call me at my office (Wildlife Conservation Officer Chad Morrow) (605) 677-6950.

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