Game, Fish, and Parks officials encourage fun and safety while boating

PACTOLA LAKE, S.D (KOTA TV) - Game, Fish, and Parks officials think this weekend on Pactola Lake will be busy.

A buoy on Pactola Lake, S.D.

"This is kind of the unofficial start of the boating season,” said Tanner Bruns, a Wildlife Conservation Officer for South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks. “Everybody is kind of getting ready, getting their boats ready, the campgrounds, the boat ramps, they're all getting ready."

With the Coronavirus situation, Bruns said they are seeing people at Pactola Lake, just at a different time of the week than normal.

"Normally, the weekends are the busiest time,” said Bruns. “Now, we're seeing more people during the week. People might not be working or have some time off so now they're able to come out here, you know, go on walks, go boating, go fishing."

In terms of safety, Bruns said being aware of others is important when driving a boat.

"Pay attention to your surroundings,” said Bruns. “Keep your speeds down, obviously. You know, it's nice to go fast and have fun, but you know there's other people trying to do different activities."

Bruns says all boats must have a life jacket for everyone on board that fits properly, and it must be worn if jet skiing, a throwable floatation device, and a fire extinguisher on board.

When you are getting off the water, Bruns also reminded boaters to remove the boat plug in the ramp parking lot, but also to put it back in before hitting the water the next time.

Bruns also added to be smart, be safe, and have fun when on the water.