Staying Safe on the River

Getting that boat off the trailer and into the river is one of the first signs of summer for many in Bismarck-Mandan. 

“Everyone wants to get out this time of year. It’s been a long winter,” said Tim Walters with Valley Sport and Marine. 

Winter is hard on boats. After sitting in storage all season, make sure everything is in running condition before setting sail.

Tim Walters: “The water’s high this year. They’re releasing a lot of water out of the damn. So, there’s going to be more logs, more tree branches and stuff like that out there. You want to be out and look out for that definitely.”

Per Game and Fish rules, for every single person on your boat, there has to be a life jacket just like this one as well as a throw cushion. And for children ages twelve and under, they have to have a life vest on at all times.

“And if they do stop you, and see that you don’t have the adequate life jackets, the fire extinguisher. If you have, let’s say, ten people in an eight person boat, you will get fined out of that,” said Walters. 

Unfortunately, accidents on the water do happen. You could hit a rock or tree that strands you, but don’t panic.

Walters says to, “Flag someone down. Everyone out there is usually generally pretty nice about everything. If you flag someone down, use the,  you know, throw them a 20 dollar bill or whatnot, they’ll take you back to the dock and they’ll help you out.”

Walters says above all else, be mindful of other boaters. Check your surroundings so everyone can enjoy the long weekend.

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