Boating Rules

wayne gustaveson

Moderator
Staff member
#1
I got a request to provide boating laws for review. The information was borrowed from the UTAH State Parks website: stateparks.utah.gov

Please review and post questions here.

BOATING REGISTRATION & INSURANCE
1. Registration Basics
Boating Utah Registration Requirements:

  • Current Registration in Utah. All motorboats and sailboats must have proper registration with current registration decals to operate Utah waters legally. For more information on registration and titling, visit the Utah DMV Watercraft page.
  • Decals. Certificates of registration and annual registration decals obtained by presenting the correct application form, fee, and validated tax certificates to the Utah DMV. Click here to find an office near you.
  • Exceptions to registration. Canoes, kayaks, and other vessels not propelled by motor or sail. Also, out-of-state residents using Utah waters for 60 or fewer days with proper registration in their state.
  • Keep Certificate On Board. The certificate of registration is required on board and available for inspection by any law enforcement officer whenever the vessel is in operation.

2. Insurance Basics
Cruise with Coverage. It’s the Law!

  • Each motorboat and personal watercraft (PWC) are required to carry owner’s or operator’s liability insurance when operated on Utah waters.
  • The minimum insurance requirements are: $25,00-/$50,000 bodily injury/death – $15,000 property damage or $65,000 combined minimum per accident.
  • Motorboats equipped with engines less than 50 horsepower and all airboats are exempt form this requirement.
Proof of insurance must be carried on board the motorboat whenever it is in operation.

Evidence of insurance coverage includes one of the following items:

  • An insurance policy
  • A binder notice
  • Renewal notice
  • Or a card issued by the insurance company


Non-Utah Residents
Registration and Insurance Information

A motorboat owner by a non-Utah resident and registered in the non-resident’s state must meet its state’s insurance requirements or have 90 days to comply with Utah’s liability insurance regulations.


1. Life Jackets Save Lives!
Did you know? Nationally, 80% of people who drowned in boating accidents would have survived had they been wearing a Personal Flotation Device (PFD). Wear it Utah!

Utah Law requires all boats have at least one wearable U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket for each person on board.





    • Passengers, 12-years-old and younger must wear a properly sized coast guard approved life jacket whenever a boat is in operation.
If you plan to wear an inflatable life jacket, read the approval label for age, use restrictions and proper care. Inflatable life jackets may not be used by person under the age of 16; operating or riding on a PWC; being towed behind a vessel; or while boating on rivers.

Life Jacket Requirements You Need To Know




    • Boat Size and Life Jacket Requirements. Boats 16 – 39 feet in length must carry at least one throwable PFD: vessels 40 feet and greater must carry at least two throwable PFDs.
    • Water Skis & PWC. Each person being towed on water skis or other devices – or operating or riding on a PWC – must wear a properly sized and approved life jacket.
    • On Rivers. Every person on any vessel including inner tubes must wear a properly sized and approved life jacket.
Education for all ages is highly recommended. Know before you go.
**Utah requires a mandatory youth certification course for Personal Watercraft (PWC).**

3. Don’t Drink & Drive
Boating under the influence (BUI) is the same as driving under the influence. The same penalties apply, including suspension of driver’s license, possible jail time, and fines.

A person operating a motorboat on Utah’s waters ins considered to have given consent to take any field sobriety test requested by an officer who feels the person in operation is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. If arrested, your boat, trailer, and tow vehicle may be impounded.

Alcohol is allowed on all boats; however, it is against the law for a person under the influence to operate a motorboat.

Please Drink Responsibly

4. Yes, there are speed limits on the water.

A wakeless or idle speed is required when operating in a designated slow-wakeless speed area.

This also applies whenever you are withing 150 feet of another boat, a person in the water, a water skier, shore angler, launch ramp, dock, or other designated swimming areas.


5. Passenger Seating
No one may operated a motorboat faster than a wakeless speed with passengers sitting on the bow decking, gunwales, seatbacks, or motor cover.

A person may ride on the bow decking if they do not block the view of the operator and they are straddling one of the uprights on the bow railing.

6. Towing People Behind the Boat
When towing water skies, wakeboards, or other devices, boat operators must maintain a safe course to ensure safety. Remember, in addition to the boat operator, you must also have an observer – at least 8-years-old – on board to watch and communicate with the skier.

The observer must also display a 12″ x 12″ orange flag when the tow is finished, or preparing to begin. Always watch your skier!

Towing is allowed only between sunrise and sunset, so no night towing. All persons being towed must wear a properly sized life jacket. It is prohibited to tow a person in a non-standing position withing 20 feet of the back of the boat.

Remember, the person being towed also counts towards your maximum person capacity, so don’t go over.

9. Carbon Monoxide & Propeller Injury
Do not allow anyone to spend time on the back of the boat while the engine is running!

Carbon Monoxide is known as the silent killer. This gas is odorless and tasteless. It can deplete your oxygen to the point of death.


10. Help! There’s An Accident!
Do you know what to do in case of a boating accident?

If involved in a boating accident, stay calm and do the following:




    • Help other people in the accident to the extent you are able.
    • Exchange contact information with any injured person or owner of property damaged.
    • Notify law enforcement immediately if anyone dies, disappears, requires treatment beyond simple first-aid, or combined property damage exceeds $2,000.
    • Do not leave the scene before rendering aid, exchanging information, and notifying local law enforcement. leaving the scene of an accident is illegal.
    • Submit an Accident Report. Complete and sign boat owner/operator accident report form and submit it to Utah State Parks within 10 days. Forms are available from a park ranger or at boating.utah.gov.
EQUIPMENT CHECKLIST
Simple. Safe. Smart.
We make it easy!

How Do I Utilize the Checklist Provided?

1- Required Equipment Checklist According to Boat Size: Consult this checklist to determine the size of your boat. Once you have established the size of your boat, the chart indicates the equipment required by law for that size.

2- “My Vessel” Checklist: Once you have confirmed your boat size and equipment requirements according to the list, you can now use the column under “My Vessel.” Check off required equipment on board your boat to make sure it is all there for your safety.

Do you need a proper checklist in hand? You can download and print one at the bottom of this page!

Required Equipment Checklist According to Boat Size

HAZARDS TO NAVIGATION
Often times, boating hazards may not be what you think. They can include:




    • Piers
    • Floating Docks / Swim Platforms
    • Fixed Platforms / Boat Lifts
    • Shoreline Docks exceeding 75 ft. from shore
    • Mooring Buoys
    • Scientific / Research related devices
    • Navigational Aids / Regulatory Markers
    • Utility and/or Irrigation Piping
Remember to check the rules before placing anything in the water
Placement of Waterway Markers (R651-204-1):
No person shall place on or near the waters of this state any waterway marker, except a divers flag, without written authorization by a federal agency operating within federal authority or by the Division of Parks and Recreation.

Hazards to Navigation (R651-204-2):
No person shall place any permanent or anchored objects on the waters of this state without written authorization by a federal agency operating within federal authority or by the Division of Parks and Recreation.

To comply with this requirement, those placing waterway markers or permanent/anchored objects must complete an application prior.





 

VanillaIceCream

Well-Known Member
#3
I have a question about PFD's...

Quoting:
Life Jacket Requirements You Need To Know




    • Boat Size and Life Jacket Requirements. Boats 16 – 39 feet in length must carry at least one throwable PFD.

    Does this mean a boat LESS than 16' is NOT required to carry a throwable PFD?



    Erik
 

wayne gustaveson

Moderator
Staff member
#4
I have a question about PFD's...

Quoting:
Life Jacket Requirements You Need To Know




    • Boat Size and Life Jacket Requirements. Boats 16 – 39 feet in length must carry at least one throwable PFD.

    Does this mean a boat LESS than 16' is NOT required to carry a throwable PFD?



    Erik
I think that is accurate because most boats under 16 feet require all on board to wear a life jacket: canoes, jetski, PWC, etc.
 

VanillaIceCream

Well-Known Member
#5
Thanks, that clears up some information. Specifically a 14ft Hobbie Cat sailboat and some overzealous volunteer Park Rangers in another state.
 
#10
Wayne,
Question from a Colorado boater/fisherman that spends most of the time on Powell. Is it a requirement to have insurance on your boat? From what I read non residents are exempt. Could you clarify please! I do but had a discussion with others I work with.
Many thanks, Chovycaptain
Just as a follow up, could not find anything in Colorado regs concerning insurance.
 

wayne gustaveson

Moderator
Staff member
#11
Wayne,
Question from a Colorado boater/fisherman that spends most of the time on Powell. Is it a requirement to have insurance on your boat? From what I read non residents are exempt. Could you clarify please! I do but had a discussion with others I work with.
Many thanks, Chovycaptain
Just as a follow up, could not find anything in Colorado regs concerning insurance.
The Utah Division of Parks and Recreation only enforces the insurance ruling for UT Resident boaters. They do not have jurisdiction over non-resident boaters who are in the Utah portion of Lake Powell.

However there may be different requirements for AZ boaters in AZ or any boaters that are boarded by NPS in either state.
With that in mind I would suggest having proof of insurance in your boat while on this huge body of water that floats many large houseboats and tour boats that throw a huge wake in the main channel. That would be the safe thing to do.
 

Goblin

Well-Known Member
#12
This is from the Utah DNR State Parks site:
Boating; Rules & Regulations; Registration & Insurance Page

Notice that the rules are applicable to "Each motorboat and personal watercraft" regardless of state of registration.
2. Insurance Basics
Cruise with Coverage. It’s the Law!

  • Each motorboat and personal watercraft (PWC) are required to carry owner’s or operator’s liability insurance when operated on Utah waters.
  • The minimum insurance requirements are: $25,00-/$50,000 bodily injury/death – $15,000 property damage or $65,000 combined minimum per accident.
  • Motorboats equipped with engines less than 50 horsepower and all airboats are exempt form this requirement.
Proof of insurance must be carried on board the motorboat whenever it is in operation.

Evidence of insurance coverage includes one of the following items:

  • An insurance policy
  • A binder notice
  • Renewal notice
  • Or a card issued by the insurance company

There is also a handy PDF downloadable from Boat-Ed.com which covers this issue along with the rest of the legal requirements:
Utah: The Legal Requirements of Boating
upload_2018-2-19_15-56-31.png


After all, you never know what you may run into.

FWIW:p
Goblin
 

Todd

Well-Known Member
#13
This came up several years ago and at that time it was confirmed that you DO have to have proof of insurance on a boat.
My insurance company didn’t make cards so I picked up a copy of the policy and put it in my glove box on the boat.
The next weekend I got stopped for a safety inspection near bullfrog and they asked to see my proof. It is or was at that time a ticket offense.
I always carry proof now!

BTW Colorado boat.
 

Ryan

Well-Known Member
#15
Sooo, which is it? I’m so confused now!
☹️☹️
Chovycaptain
I remember from last years discussion that the insurance requirement was only for UT boats.

That said, I think it is a bad idea to go without some sort of coverage. The policy is inexpensive. New boats (should you have an accident with one) are not.
 

Todd

Well-Known Member
#16
I guess I’m not sure if it has changed since then but my question is why wouldn’t you have insurance on your boat and carry proof these days?
 

Todd

Well-Known Member
#17
I found this on the NPS website....

Watercraft Liability Coverage
Watercraft liability coverage is required for boating activities on waters within NPS areas. Depending on size, ownership, and use of the watercraft, this is covered by either a Protection and Indemnity (P&I) Liability policy or by a Comprehensive General Liability policy.

Since NPS patrols Lake Powell I would assume it’s required?
 

Jared

New Member
#18
Chovycaptain,

What you read is correct. Only UT registered boats have to meet the above mentioned requirements for insurance and carrying proof of insurance on the boat when on the water. There is an exemption for out of state boats with out of state owners written into the law and we can not enforce other states insurance requirements. I am unsure of our neighboring states insurance laws and we do not/can not enforce them, but I can tell you NPS adopts/assimilates the states laws on boat registration and insurance. If you were contacted and they preform a vessel safety inspection they may ask for the proof of insurance because it is a box on the inspection forms, however no enforcement action can be taken against you if you are an out of state resident in your out of state boat as long as you have not had that boat in UT for 90 days which would then require you to obtain insurance and carry proof on board.

That being said I would encourage all boaters to insure their boats and carry their insurance info on the boats when visiting UT waters. That way should you have an accident it enables us to record your insurance info on your accident report and it will significantly speed up the process of your insurance company paying or reimbursing you for damages that need repair. Even if it's just a scratch you get from another boat at the ramp, having the insurance card on board will allow you to exchange insurance info with another boat owner.

Non-Utah Residents
Registration and Insurance Information

A motorboat owner by a non-Utah resident and registered in the non-resident’s state must meet its state’s insurance requirements or have 90 days to comply with Utah’s liability insurance regulations.

Jared Jones
Utah State Parks & Recreation
Boating Area Manager
Lake Powell