Be Safe While Boating, Wear a Life Jacket

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CHEYENNE — Summer is here, and many boaters are enjoying Wyoming’s waters. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department hopes you have fun on the water this summer and reminds all boaters to be prepared and be sure watercraft is outfitted with the required safety equipment.

“We want all boaters to safely enjoy Wyoming’s waters. We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have a life jacket for all of the passengers in your boat,” said Aaron Kerr, Game and Fish watercraft safety program coordinator. “It is the law and it is a practice that saves lives.”

Boaters are required to have a personal flotation device (life jacket) available for each individual on board. Life jackets must be properly-sized, U.S. Coast Guard approved, and in good condition. They cannot be waterlogged, torn or have straps broken or missing.

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Life jackets also need to be readily accessible to the passengers on board. Children 12 years old and under are required to wear a life jacket while the boat is underway unless they are inside an enclosed cabin.

Anyone being towed by a boat or riding on a personal watercraft (jet ski) is required to wear a life jacket as well.

“Simply put-life jackets save lives, when they are worn,” said Kerr. “Following the safety rules while boating helps ensure that everyone has fun on the water.”
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Other Safety Equipment

Other required safety equipment includes:

  • A minimum of one U.S. Coast Guard throwable flotation device, which includes ring buoys and float cushions, aboard boats 16 feet and longer.
  • A proper fire extinguisher on any boat with an inboard engine, permanently installed fuel tank, closed living space, double bottoms that are not sealed to the hull or compartments that store fuel tanks or other combustible materials. Multiple extinguishers may be needed depending on the size of the boat.
  • Navigation lights are required when boating from sunset to sunrise. All motorized boats are required to display a red and a green light to represent the port (left) and starboard (right) sides, as well as a white light that is visible 360 degrees when underway. Again, the types of lights required differ based on the size of the boat.
  • To safely operate a motorized watercraft, all operators must be at least 16 years old, obey any buoys or markers in the water, and avoid reckless or careless operation. Additionally, boating under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is illegal.

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Watercraft registrations

Boaters are also reminded they need to register their motorized watercraft to be legal when operating on Wyoming waters. This includes boats powered by electric trolling motors.

All watercraft, with exception of non-motorized inflatables under ten feet in length, also require an Aquatic Invasive Species decal.

Watercraft registrations (new or renewal) can be completed at any Game and Fish office. Registrations may also be renewed online via the Wyoming Game and Fish Department website.

Applicants are required to provide a Wyoming title, watercraft application, and the registration fee. Watercraft may be registered for a one-year period or a three-year period.

The fees are $30 for a one-year registration or $40 for a one-year combo with AIS; or $80 for a three-year registration or $110 for a three year combo with AIS.

All watercraft registrations expire on December 31 for the period registered. Fees are not transferable or refundable if the watercraft is sold.

Watercraft owners may pick up a copy of the Wyoming Watercraft Regulations at any Game and Fish office or license vendor.