Summer water safety

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds people to play it safe near the water this summer.

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, according to a news release from the department. 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.

The National Safe Boating Council warns boaters that most drowning victims had a life jacket available, but were not wearing it when they entered the water. Water users should make sure to wear life jackets appropriate in size and in good condition. It is also important that children wear a personal flotation device while swimming.

The department advises water skiers and tubers wear a life jacket with four nylon straps rather than with a zipper because straps are stronger upon water impact. Anglers or persons paddling a canoe should opt for a device comfortable to wear for an entire outing.

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

Regulations to help ensure safe boating this summer are in the 2010-12 North Dakota Fishing Guide. A more comprehensive listing is available in the North Dakota Boat and Water Safety Guide or the Boat North Dakota education book. These guides are available at, by e-mail at, or at a local Game and Fish Department office.