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National boat safety campaign begins on Sunday

A national safe boating campaign kicking off Sunday and running through March 23 encourages boat operators to take a certified boat safety course.

State Game and Fish Department education coordinator Brian Schaffer recommends all boaters take the state’s boating basics course; however, North Dakota state law requires only youngsters ages 12-15 must pass the course before they operate a boat or personal watercraft with at least a 10 horsepower motor by themselves.

In addition, some insurance companies give adult boat owners who pass the course a discount on boat insurance.

The course is available for home-study from the Game and Fish Department’s Bismarck office. Two commercial providers also offer the course online, and links to those sites are found on the department’s website at gf.nd.gov.

While the home-study course is free, students will be charged a fee to take it online. The online provider charges for the course, not the Game and Fish Department. The fee stays with the online provider.

Upon completion of the online test, and providing a credit card number, students will be able to print out a temporary certification card, and within 30 days a permanent card will be mailed.

The course covers legal requirements, navigation rules, getting underway, accidents and special topics, such as weather, rules of the road, laws, life saving and first aid.

For more information on boating safety, call 701-328-6300.

Game and Fish seeks contractors for habitat work

Contractors who are able to perform habitat work on Private Land Open To Sportsmen program lands across the state are invited to add their businesses to a database that the North Dakota Game and Fish Department will maintain on its website, gf.nd.gov, to help landowners who are looking to develop wildlife habitat on their property.

PLOTS is an agreement between the private landowner and Game and Fish Department to open private land to walking hunting access. These contracts can involve establishing or enhancing wildlife habitat, such as grass plantings and food plots on PLOTS lands. However, if the landowner does not have the necessary equipment to perform the work, a contractor is usually needed.

“In some parts of the state, there is a shortage of contractors, or equipment, to perform habitat work,” said Kevin Kading, Game and Fish private lands section leader. “The bulk of the habitat work is planting native and introduced grasses, which requires a tractor, operator and a no-till drill or native grass drill. Other work can include wildlife food plots and tree plantings.”

Providing company information does not guarantee any future work, but as projects come about, the Department will refer landowners to interested contractors.

More information about the PLOTS program is also available on the Game and Fish website, or by calling the Game and Fish Department at 701-328-6300.

-- Compiled from press releases

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