Water safety reminders for the Fourth of July weekend
BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - With ideal weather forecasted for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, safety on the water is a top priority for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. They also want the community to remember firework restrictions and to dispose of trash at home.
Game and Fish highly encourages water users to wear life jackets while swimming and to know the water’s depth while out on the water.
“Wear life jackets when you’re in the water swimming. It’s important because, at any moment, the water can get deeper than you believe and lose your footing, and you could get swept downstream faster than maybe somebody can get in the water and come after you,” Jackie Lundstrom, enforcement operation supervisor of North Dakota Game and Fish, said.
The most preventable safety citation issued last year from North Dakota game wardens was boaters not having enough life jackets for all passengers.
“So first and foremost, it’s always good to make sure you have your safety equipment with a wearable life jacket on board when you’re out boating. It’s important. And those kids ten and under have to be wearing a life jacket while the boat is under power,” Lundstrom said.
One boater that was on the water last week came across several children struggling to swim through the current without life vests on.
“All of a sudden they all come up onto our jet ski and they’re okay. And then, luckily too, we’re the only ones there, if it wasn’t for us, the current started to take them, so that’s why they were saying, ‘help,’ but I think if we weren’t there, that could have been a very ugly situation,” Heidi Werosta said.
While boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a year-round effort, July 2-4 is a heightened weekend for enforcement of the water.
“This weekend is also Operation Dry Water, and that’s our heightened awareness of the dangers of boating and drinking, and as always, we always encourage a sober driver on the water just like we do on the land,” Lundstrom said.
During the holiday weekend, it’s also prohibited for citizens to use fireworks in state wildlife management areas.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department also reminds any recreationists to leave no trace on the water this summer and to pick up and pack out all garbage to keep North Dakota’s habitats safe.
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