Boaters Reminded of Regulations

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JACKSON– As warmer weather approaches, many boaters are heading to area waters in force.  With that increasing interest, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department urges boaters to become familiar with the new regulations before heading out on the water.

Game and Fish officials often note many boaters in violation for not having a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) readily available in their watercraft this time of year.  Boaters are required by law to have a “life jacket,” or PFD, for everyone on board when they take to the water in Wyoming.  A new regulation also requires all children twelve years old and under to wear a PFD at all times.   

The commission regulation reads “All watercraft shall carry a U.S. Coast Guard approved wearable personal flotation device of suitable size for each person on board.  All U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices shall be readily accessible, in good condition and shall not be waterlogged, torn, or have straps broken or missing.” 

“We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to be able to access PFDs for all of the passengers in your boat,” says Tim Fuchs, regional wildlife supervisor for the Jackson area. ““Ironically, in most boating-related drownings, PFDs are actually present, but not accessible.”

Fuchs reminds floaters that rafts and drift boats are watercraft and also require wearable PFDs for each person on board.  In addition, if the boat is 16 feet or longer, a Type IV throwable flotation device is required and a rope throw-bag doesn’t meet the requirements by law.

Boaters are also reminded they need to register their motorized watercraft to be legal when recreating on Wyoming waters.  Every watercraft powered by any type of propulsion other than human is required to have a registration number.

Drift boats and canoes do not require state registration, but “when a motor of any kind is used, it does require state registration,” said Fuchs.  “It used to be any motor five horsepower or greater had to be registered, but now all boats with any kind of motor, including electric, need to be registered.”

Watercraft registrations for renewals only may be completed at any Game and Fish office. New watercraft registrations must be done with an application to the watercraft section at the Game and Fish Cheyenne Headquarters. Application forms may be picked up at any Game and Fish regional office, some license vendors or online at the Wyoming Game and Fish Department website.

Applicants are required to provide information with the application, including proof of ownership (notarized), proof of Wyoming sales tax and the license fee. Watercraft may be registered for a one-year period for $15 or $40 for three years.  All watercraft registrations expire 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. Additional information can be found at the Game and Fish Web site or by calling the Cheyenne Game and Fish office at (800) 842-1934.