Boating and Water Safety

Every year many people are hurt or killed on our rivers and lakes. We’ve put together some information that should help you create a fun and safe boating experience for your family.

Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)

All recreational boats must have at least one Coast Guard approved floation device of the proper size for each person on board.

  1. Children 14 years of age and younger need to wear an approved life jacket when the boat is moving.
  2. Each person riding on a personal watercraft must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device.
  3. Each person being towed behind a boat must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device.
  4. Besides being labeled “U.S. Coast Guard-approved,” all PFDs must be:
    • In good and serviceable condition.
    • Readily accessible, which means you are able to put it on quickly in an emergency.
    • Of the proper size for the intended wearer. Sizing is based on body weight and chest size.
    • Learn More about U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFDs.

Want to know more about Idaho’s boating laws?
Check the Idaho Handbook of Boating Laws and Responsibilities.
Get your Idaho Boater Education Certificate in 3 steps.

Alcohol and Boating

 More than 1,000 people die in boating accidents every year. About half those deaths involve alcohol. It’s difficult enough to stay alert in the heat and sun, and adding alcohol only adds to the effect.

 When you’re drinking you’re much more likely to fall overboard. Alcohol also reduces your body’s ability to protect against cold water, making hypothermia more likely if you fall in. Within minutes you may not be able to call for help or swim to safety. A person under the influence of alchohol who falls into the water can become confused and swim down and drown, instead of swimming up to safety.


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