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GFP News - May 22, 2015


South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Encourages Boaters to Wear Life Jackets

PIERRE, S.D. - As warm weather finally sets in, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) would like to remind boaters of important safety procedures when spending time on the water.

“It’s tempting not to wear a life jacket while on the water; especially on nice days,” said Brandon Gust, GFP boating law administrator. “It’s hot, you think you are a strong swimmer or you want to get some sun. There is never an excuse to not wear a lifejacket.”

According to recent U.S. Coast Guard statistics, drowning was the reported cause of death in three-fourths of all boating fatalities in 2013. Of those, 84 percent were reported as not wearing their life jackets. The North American Safe Boating Campaign, “Wear It!” is a yearlong effort focusing on spreading the message of boating safety and the critical importance of always wearing a life jacket.

“Each year hundreds of people lose their lives in boating accidents,” said Gust.  “You never know when there may be a boating mishap, so it is important that everyone onboard always wears a life jacket.”

Gust also encourages anyone who may be operating a boat to take a boating safety course. These courses are a great way to learn safe boating, and are a great refresher to veteran boaters as well. These online courses can be found at

Altman Named Brook Brown Boating Officer of the Year

PIERRE, S.D. - The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators has named Dan Altman the 2015 Brook Brown Boating Officer of the Year. Altman is a conservation officer for the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP); stationed in Yankton.

“Altman has done an outstanding job in the field of boating law enforcement and education since taking over the Yankton duty station in 2013,” said Brandon Gust, GFP boating law administrator. “The demands of an officer’s time for a duty station like Yankton can be overwhelming. Altman has excelled at every level of boating enforcement work and serves his community well. The citizens of Yankton are fortunate to have him.”

Gust acknowledged that Altman has set forth a shining  example of how boating  enforcement work should be done in this state and has made many contributions to the field that have not only made him a better officer, but also those that have had the opportunity to work with him.

“Altman has faced many challenges in the boating enforcement arena, yet has always persevered,” Gust concluded. “Along with those challenges, Altman has continued to ensure the boaters of South Dakota have a safe and enjoyable place to recreate and has done an outstanding job of preserving public safety for all.”

About the Award: The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators’ (NASBLA) award is presented annually to the boating law enforcement officer who has made outstanding contributions to the field of boating law enforcement.

The awards program consists of three levels: state, regional and national. State nominees are selected by the state boating law administrator. State nominees continue to regional competition, where they are reviewed, and one winner per region is selected by the three regional awards committees. Regional award winners are submitted to NASBLA’s Awards Committee for review and selection of the national award.

The South Dakota award was renamed to honor a previous recipient and GFP conservation officer, Brook Brown. Brown lost his battle with cancer during the summer of 2012 and was well known for his contributions to the state’s boating enforcement and education efforts.    


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