Missouri River Safety Day Set for May 31

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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department, Cumulus Broadcasting and Gate City Banks are sponsoring Missouri River SPLASH – a recreation and boating safety event for everyone who enjoys the Missouri River.

The six-hour event will be held May 31 in Mandan from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Moritz Sport and Marine. Displays, hands-on activities, demos, regulations, registrations and prizes are included.

Nancy Boldt, boat and water safety coordinator for the Game and Fish Department, said the event is free, and people of all ages are invited to attend. “It is a great event for the entire family as a lot of public interaction with many different agencies will take place,” Boldt said. “And you don’t have to stay for the entire day. People will be able to come and go as they please.”

Safety on the Missouri River has been a major enforcement issue for the Game and Fish Department, as the number of boaters and jet skiers has almost doubled in the past five years. “More people are using this area because of the low water at Lake Sakakawea, and with more users in a limited space problems are bound to arise,” Boldt said. “Holding this event should alleviate some of the problems.”

An added incentive is for people who bring a completed boating safety exam to the event. “People who pick up a Boat North Dakota safety course, complete the included home-study test and bring it with them on May 31 will be eligible to win a kayak,” Boldt said. “In fact, anyone who shows us a certified boater card is eligible to win a life jacket, tow behind tube or other prizes.”

State law requires youngsters ages 12-15 who want to operate a boat or personal watercraft with at least a 10 horsepower motor to first pass the state’s Boating Basics Course. In addition, some major insurance companies give adult boat owners who pass the course a premium discount on boat insurance.

Boat North Dakota safety courses are free and available at the Game and Fish Department, or in Bismarck and Mandan at any local boat dealer, all Gate City Bank locations, and at Cumulus Broadcasting.