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Encouraging boaters to 'Keep Your Edge'

It may not feel like boating season yet, but boating safety advocates are urging boaters to “Keep Your Edge” by enrolling in a boating education course this spring.

The Spring Aboard – Take A Boating Education Course campaign encourages boaters to get educated prior to the kick-off of the boating season to make the most of your time on the water. Many education providers and partners offer discounts or other incentives for students who enroll in or complete a boating safety course during the week of March 17-23, 2019.

Boaters are encouraged to take a boating education course if they have never taken one before, or to take a course as a refresher in order to prepare for the boating season ahead.

“Although boating education is not mandatory in South Dakota, we continue to urge boaters to take one of our online boater education courses,” said boating law administrator Joe Keeton. “The information that can be taken away from this course will make you a more informed boater, which typically equates to safer boating experience on the water.”

U.S. Coast Guard statistics indicate that of the accidents where the level of operator education was known, 81 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction.

Costs for both Boat-ed and BOATERexam courses are reduced by 50 percent March 17-23. Use VIP code SpringAboard19.

South Dakota offers three certified online courses. These courses can be found on online at: gfp.sd.gov/safety/. Find the three options (Boat Ed, Boat US, and Boater Exam) under number ten of the Top Ten Thing to Remember When Boating in South Dakota.

GFP to hold CWD open house meetings

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) will be holding a series of open house meetings regarding Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal brain disease of deer, elk, and moose that is caused by an abnormal protein called a prion. Animals infected with CWD show progressive loss of weight and body condition, behavioral changes, excessive salivation, increased drinking and urination, depression, loss of muscle control and eventual death. Chronic wasting disease is always fatal for the afflicted animal. The disease can not be diagnosed by observation of physical symptoms because many big game diseases affect animals in similar ways.

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These meetings are designed to provide information on the disease, listen to questions, and get your input on how to help protect South Dakota's deer and elk herds.

There will be a brief presentation to begin the meeting. Attendees will then have an opportunity to sit down with GFP staff in small groups to learn about disease surveillance, known CWD distribution and long term concerns, and what measures can be taken to prevent the spread of this disease.

The meeting schedule is as follows:

• 3/14 Huron at the Crossroads Event Center, 100 4th St. SW

• 3/18 Rapid City at the GFP Outdoor Campus, 4130 Adventure Trail

• 3/19 Hot Springs at the Mueller Center, 801 S. 6th St.

• 3/25 Wall at the Community Center, 501 Main St.

• 3/26 Pierre at the Capitol Lake Visitors Center, 650 E. Capitol Ave.

All meetings are from 7-9 p.m. local time.

For more information on CWD in South Dakota, visit: gfp.sd.gov/chronic-wasting-disease/ or listen to the CWD episode of the GFP Podcast and Blast.

For more information on this meeting, contact Chad.Switzer@state.sd.us

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