We foster experiences that renew the human spirit and promote community vitality.

My Boat

What's Required?

No Yes


Three Options for Boating Education:
 

1. Free Boating Safety Class. View the current listing of classes here and contact the instructor as directed. 

2. Home Study. Review materials and take a test in the comfort of your own home at your own pace (no cost). To receive study materials, call 208-514-2412 or email us.

3. Online Education. The following vendors are approved for the state of Idaho (fees may apply). 

Boat-Ed (fee applies)
Boater Exam (fee applies)
Boat Smart (fee applies)

Power Boating Economic Impact Study [2016]

Read study here

Life Jacket Loaner Stations 

 

Find a Life Jacket Loaner Station near you!

 

Answers to Common Questions

Boating in Idaho FAQs

Videos

 

Resources

 

The purpose of the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation's Boating Program is to educate the public in safe boating practices, ethics and legal requirements in order to prevent fatalities and damage relating to recreational boating accidents and to provide the necessary training for sheriff marine deputies to enforce Idaho boating laws.

See all Boating events


How to select and fit a child's life jacket

Why should your kids wear a life jacket?

Because you love your kids.  Drowning is often a silent killer. Children can slip under water without being noticed.  Many state parks  have Life Jacket Loaner Stations from which you may borrow life jackets.  The best life jacket is the one you're wearing!  Remember, they only save lives when worn.

Life Jacket Loaner Stations

Find a Life Jacket Loaner Station near you!

 

Life Jackets Save Lives

  • PFD’s (personal flotation devices) must be Coast Guard approved, properly sized, and in good condition (no broken buckles, torn straps, rips, tears, etc). They must also be within easy reach.
  • Children 14 and under must wear an approved life jacket when they are aboard a boat 19 feet in length or less whenever the boat is underway or under power. This applies to manually propelled boats such as canoes and rafts in addition to powerboats, sailboats, personal watercraft (jet skis) and fishing float tubes.
  • Regardless of age, you must wear a personal flotation device (PFD) aboard a personal watercraft (jet ski) and when being pulled behind a vessel (I.e. - waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, etc.)
  • The size of the boat determines the specific design types and quantities of PFDs required:
  • Boats less than 16 feet long, as well as canoes and kayaks of any length, must have at least one (1) Type I, Type II, or Type III PFD for each person on board. A Type IV cushion or ring buoy will not meet this requirement.
  • Boats 16 feet and longer (except canoes and kayaks of any length) must also carry a Type IV PFD (ring or cushion buoy).
  • A Type V is a special purpose PFD that may be used in place of a Type I, II, or III if listed on the label as approved for the type of boating the boater is doing, such as whitewater rafting.
  • Exemptions: Seaplanes, sailboards, and certain racing boats are exempt from these PFD requirements. Fly fishing float tubes do not require a PFD on lakes less than 200 surface acres. Fly fishing pontoons do require PFDs on all Idaho waters.

Click here for more information on how to choose a life jacket.

 

 

Cold Water Safety

Click here to watch a video depicting cold water safety training and techniques.

In the past ten years nearly 67% of the fatal boating accidents in Idaho were the result of victims involuntarily entering the water from small boats. The average water temperature of Idaho’s water is 52 degrees, even during the summer. Wearing a life jacket can greatly increase your risk of surviving a cold water immersion situation.

4 Dangerous Categories of Cold Water Immersion

Cold Shock - Initial entry - 5 minutes:

  • Involuntary gasping, hyperventilation, & vertigo

Swim Failure - 5 - 30 minutes:

  • Even the best swimmers cannot function in cold water  
  • Muscles, nerves, arms & legs cool quickly
  • Manual dexterity, grip strength & movement speed drop 60-80%

Hypothermia - 30 minutes or more:  

  • Depends on water temperature, clothing, body type & behavior
  • Heat loss is 25 times faster in the water

Post Immersion Collapse:            

  • Heart problems can develop as cold blood is released into the body core from the extremities

To increase your chances of surviving cold water immersion, always wear your life jacket.


White Water Rafting in Idaho

Download a brochure about white water safety

Download a brochure for new paddlecraft owners

Safety tips

Follow these guidelines to make your trip safe and fun:

Pick an appropriate stretch of river

  • Match your skills and experience to the class of river using the Scale of Difficulty. The Scale of Difficulty rates a rapid by the level of skill needed to navigate its obstacles and to survive an accidental swim.

Dress for an unexpected swim!

  • Cold water can rob you of your strength, impair your ability to swim and cause hypothermia.  Wear a wetsuit, drysuit, nylon or fleece layers -- never cotton!

Use proper equipment

  • Coast Guard approved white water life jacket (Type 3 or 5).

  • Helmet

  • Cold water protective clothing (never cotton) and protective footwear

  • Throw rope, whistle, knife

Keep your group close together

  • Prepare a float plan and rescue strategy

  • Remember: the safety of your group is only as strong as your least experienced member

Recognize and avoid hazards

  • Look for fallen trees, low hanging branches

  • Rocks and undercuts

  • Powerful water hydraulics

Swim aggressively or defensively

  • Away from hazards, toward calm water, shore or raft

  • Avoid undercut banks and rocks

  • Point feet up and pointed downstreams

  • Use arms to manuever

  • Don't stand up!  Fast water can entrap your foot, between rocks, push you over and pin you under the surface.

Self rescue

  • If spilled, check your partner, get upstream and swim to safest shore

  • Leave the boat only when it will improve your personal safety

  • If rescue isn't likely, if the water is numbing cold or if a worse set of rapids is approaching, swim to the safest shore.

 

 
 

 

Idaho, the "whitewater state", is a river-runner's dream. But there are risks associated with whitewater paddling.  

 

Links

Marine Law Enforcement Resources 

Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation trains and provides resources to Idaho sheriff's deputies and others responsible for patrolling Idaho's waterways.  

 

Marine Law Enforcement Courses

Register for an MLE class (all classes full for 2020)

Download information about the MLE classes offered

Marine Event Permit Application

Idaho law requires the person in charge of marine events to apply for a marine event permit 30 days prior to the event.  You can download an electronic copy of the application here or request a hard copy of the form from your local county sheriff’s office. If you download the electronic form, please save it, print it, then submit it directly to your local county sheriff’s office.

Please note that events on Federally controlled waters may be subject to additional permitting by the United States Coast Guard.  Coast Guard permit applications must be submitted 135 days in advance of the event.  Some popular Federal waters in Idaho include Lake Coeur d’Alene, Priest Lake, Lake Pend Oreille, Dworshak Reservoir, Bear Lake, Snake River, Clearwater River, St. Joe River, Salmon River, Priest River and Brownlee Reservoir.  Associated tributaries for these bodies of waters may also be Federally controlled.  Click here to see the complete list of Federally controlled waters. Click here to apply for a Coast Guard Permit.

 

Recreational Boat Accident Report Forms - for official law enforcement use only

County RBS Grants - for offical law enforcement use only

Apply for recreational boating safety grant

 

Questions:  E-Mail the MLE program

Boat safety laws are enforced by county sheriffs’ offices in Idaho. For specific questions regarding enforcement of a boating law please contact your local sheriff’s office and ask for the marine deputy or marine division. Marine deputies also participate in boat safety outreach events all over the state to help educate the public and teach classes for those interested in learning more about Idaho boating laws and rules.

See all Boating events


Idaho's Invasive Species Law

Idaho law states that any motorized or non-motorized boat operating in Idaho is required to display an Invasive Species Fund (ISF) sticker. When you purchase and display an ISF sticker, you contribute to a fund that provides vessel inspections, washing stations and informational materials that will assist Idaho with preventing the introduction of aquatic invasive species like quagga mussels.

For Frequently Asked Questions and other information about the Invasive Species Program, please visit the Idaho State Department of Agriculture.

Purchase Invasive Species Fund Stickers

Boaters can purchase ISF stickers on-line, at any Idaho State Park or at specific vendors.


 

Invasive species are harmful, non-native plants, animals and pathogens that damage our economy and environments.  Invasives can move into and dominate both natural and managed systems by disrupting the ability of those systems to function sustainably.  They are highly competitive, persistent, and can create monocultures that will eliminate Idaho's diverse biological landscape—a landscape that nurtures Idahoan interests from our recreational pursuits to our ability to help feed the nation.   


Contact Information

Boating Law Administrator (and Southwest Idaho contact)
David Dahms
(208) 514-2412
 
Boating Education Safety Coordinator (and North Idaho contact)
Sam Hoggatt
(208) 769-1511
 
Boating Law Enforcement Training Coordinator (and Lewiston area contact)
Randy Herman
randy.herman@idpr.idaho.gov
(208) 799-5126
 
Recreational Training Coordinator (and East Idaho contact)
Matt Lowe
(208) 701-7081
 
Boat Education Safety Trainer (and Southwest Idaho contact) 
Sadie Kennel
(208) 514-2426
 
For specific inquiries regarding boat registrations or to become a vendor
call 1-800-247-6332 or e-mail reghelpline@idpr.idaho.gov
 
To request boater handbooks and other boat safety materials
contact David Dahms at (208) 514-2412 or david.dahms@idpr.idaho.gov
 
If you are selling/buying a boat, please review the information posted
on the Frequently Asked Questions Tab (last question)
 
 

Mind Your Wake

Minimize damage to shorelines, docks, and other structures by following these simple guidelines while on the water:

 

 

WSIA Driver's Etiquette: The Wake Zone (2017) from WaterSports IndustryAssociation on Vimeo.

My Boat

What's Required?

No Yes


Three Options for Boating Education:
 

1. Free Boating Safety Class. View the current listing of classes here and contact the instructor as directed. 

2. Home Study. Review materials and take a test in the comfort of your own home at your own pace (no cost). To receive study materials, call 208-514-2412 or email us.

3. Online Education. The following vendors are approved for the state of Idaho (fees may apply). 

Boat-Ed (fee applies)
Boater Exam (fee applies)
Boat Smart (fee applies)

Power Boating Economic Impact Study [2016]

Read study here

Life Jacket Loaner Stations 

 

Find a Life Jacket Loaner Station near you!

 

Answers to Common Questions

Boating in Idaho FAQs

Videos

 

Resources

 

The purpose of the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation's Boating Program is to educate the public in safe boating practices, ethics and legal requirements in order to prevent fatalities and damage relating to recreational boating accidents and to provide the necessary training for sheriff marine deputies to enforce Idaho boating laws.

See all Boating events

How to select and fit a child's life jacket

Why should your kids wear a life jacket?

Because you love your kids.  Drowning is often a silent killer. Children can slip under water without being noticed.  Many state parks  have Life Jacket Loaner Stations from which you may borrow life jackets.  The best life jacket is the one you're wearing!  Remember, they only save lives when worn.

Life Jacket Loaner Stations

Find a Life Jacket Loaner Station near you!

 

Life Jackets Save Lives

  • PFD’s (personal flotation devices) must be Coast Guard approved, properly sized, and in good condition (no broken buckles, torn straps, rips, tears, etc). They must also be within easy reach.
  • Children 14 and under must wear an approved life jacket when they are aboard a boat 19 feet in length or less whenever the boat is underway or under power. This applies to manually propelled boats such as canoes and rafts in addition to powerboats, sailboats, personal watercraft (jet skis) and fishing float tubes.
  • Regardless of age, you must wear a personal flotation device (PFD) aboard a personal watercraft (jet ski) and when being pulled behind a vessel (I.e. - waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, etc.)
  • The size of the boat determines the specific design types and quantities of PFDs required:
  • Boats less than 16 feet long, as well as canoes and kayaks of any length, must have at least one (1) Type I, Type II, or Type III PFD for each person on board. A Type IV cushion or ring buoy will not meet this requirement.
  • Boats 16 feet and longer (except canoes and kayaks of any length) must also carry a Type IV PFD (ring or cushion buoy).
  • A Type V is a special purpose PFD that may be used in place of a Type I, II, or III if listed on the label as approved for the type of boating the boater is doing, such as whitewater rafting.
  • Exemptions: Seaplanes, sailboards, and certain racing boats are exempt from these PFD requirements. Fly fishing float tubes do not require a PFD on lakes less than 200 surface acres. Fly fishing pontoons do require PFDs on all Idaho waters.

Click here for more information on how to choose a life jacket.

 

 

Cold Water Safety

Click here to watch a video depicting cold water safety training and techniques.

In the past ten years nearly 67% of the fatal boating accidents in Idaho were the result of victims involuntarily entering the water from small boats. The average water temperature of Idaho’s water is 52 degrees, even during the summer. Wearing a life jacket can greatly increase your risk of surviving a cold water immersion situation.

4 Dangerous Categories of Cold Water Immersion

Cold Shock - Initial entry - 5 minutes:

  • Involuntary gasping, hyperventilation, & vertigo

Swim Failure - 5 - 30 minutes:

  • Even the best swimmers cannot function in cold water  
  • Muscles, nerves, arms & legs cool quickly
  • Manual dexterity, grip strength & movement speed drop 60-80%

Hypothermia - 30 minutes or more:  

  • Depends on water temperature, clothing, body type & behavior
  • Heat loss is 25 times faster in the water

Post Immersion Collapse:            

  • Heart problems can develop as cold blood is released into the body core from the extremities

To increase your chances of surviving cold water immersion, always wear your life jacket.

White Water Rafting in Idaho

Download a brochure about white water safety

Download a brochure for new paddlecraft owners

Safety tips

Follow these guidelines to make your trip safe and fun:

Pick an appropriate stretch of river

  • Match your skills and experience to the class of river using the Scale of Difficulty. The Scale of Difficulty rates a rapid by the level of skill needed to navigate its obstacles and to survive an accidental swim.

Dress for an unexpected swim!

  • Cold water can rob you of your strength, impair your ability to swim and cause hypothermia.  Wear a wetsuit, drysuit, nylon or fleece layers -- never cotton!

Use proper equipment

  • Coast Guard approved white water life jacket (Type 3 or 5).

  • Helmet

  • Cold water protective clothing (never cotton) and protective footwear

  • Throw rope, whistle, knife

Keep your group close together

  • Prepare a float plan and rescue strategy

  • Remember: the safety of your group is only as strong as your least experienced member

Recognize and avoid hazards

  • Look for fallen trees, low hanging branches

  • Rocks and undercuts

  • Powerful water hydraulics

Swim aggressively or defensively

  • Away from hazards, toward calm water, shore or raft

  • Avoid undercut banks and rocks

  • Point feet up and pointed downstreams

  • Use arms to manuever

  • Don't stand up!  Fast water can entrap your foot, between rocks, push you over and pin you under the surface.

Self rescue

  • If spilled, check your partner, get upstream and swim to safest shore

  • Leave the boat only when it will improve your personal safety

  • If rescue isn't likely, if the water is numbing cold or if a worse set of rapids is approaching, swim to the safest shore.

 

 
 

 

Idaho, the "whitewater state", is a river-runner's dream. But there are risks associated with whitewater paddling.  

 

Links

Marine Law Enforcement Resources 

Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation trains and provides resources to Idaho sheriff's deputies and others responsible for patrolling Idaho's waterways.  

 

Marine Law Enforcement Courses

Register for an MLE class (all classes full for 2020)

Download information about the MLE classes offered

Marine Event Permit Application

Idaho law requires the person in charge of marine events to apply for a marine event permit 30 days prior to the event.  You can download an electronic copy of the application here or request a hard copy of the form from your local county sheriff’s office. If you download the electronic form, please save it, print it, then submit it directly to your local county sheriff’s office.

Please note that events on Federally controlled waters may be subject to additional permitting by the United States Coast Guard.  Coast Guard permit applications must be submitted 135 days in advance of the event.  Some popular Federal waters in Idaho include Lake Coeur d’Alene, Priest Lake, Lake Pend Oreille, Dworshak Reservoir, Bear Lake, Snake River, Clearwater River, St. Joe River, Salmon River, Priest River and Brownlee Reservoir.  Associated tributaries for these bodies of waters may also be Federally controlled.  Click here to see the complete list of Federally controlled waters. Click here to apply for a Coast Guard Permit.

 

Recreational Boat Accident Report Forms - for official law enforcement use only

County RBS Grants - for offical law enforcement use only

Apply for recreational boating safety grant

 

Questions:  E-Mail the MLE program

Boat safety laws are enforced by county sheriffs’ offices in Idaho. For specific questions regarding enforcement of a boating law please contact your local sheriff’s office and ask for the marine deputy or marine division. Marine deputies also participate in boat safety outreach events all over the state to help educate the public and teach classes for those interested in learning more about Idaho boating laws and rules.

See all Boating events

Idaho's Invasive Species Law

Idaho law states that any motorized or non-motorized boat operating in Idaho is required to display an Invasive Species Fund (ISF) sticker. When you purchase and display an ISF sticker, you contribute to a fund that provides vessel inspections, washing stations and informational materials that will assist Idaho with preventing the introduction of aquatic invasive species like quagga mussels.

For Frequently Asked Questions and other information about the Invasive Species Program, please visit the Idaho State Department of Agriculture.

Purchase Invasive Species Fund Stickers

Boaters can purchase ISF stickers on-line, at any Idaho State Park or at specific vendors.


 

Invasive species are harmful, non-native plants, animals and pathogens that damage our economy and environments.  Invasives can move into and dominate both natural and managed systems by disrupting the ability of those systems to function sustainably.  They are highly competitive, persistent, and can create monocultures that will eliminate Idaho's diverse biological landscape—a landscape that nurtures Idahoan interests from our recreational pursuits to our ability to help feed the nation.   

Contact Information

Boating Law Administrator (and Southwest Idaho contact)
David Dahms
(208) 514-2412
 
Boating Education Safety Coordinator (and North Idaho contact)
Sam Hoggatt
(208) 769-1511
 
Boating Law Enforcement Training Coordinator (and Lewiston area contact)
Randy Herman
randy.herman@idpr.idaho.gov
(208) 799-5126
 
Recreational Training Coordinator (and East Idaho contact)
Matt Lowe
(208) 701-7081
 
Boat Education Safety Trainer (and Southwest Idaho contact) 
Sadie Kennel
(208) 514-2426
 
For specific inquiries regarding boat registrations or to become a vendor
call 1-800-247-6332 or e-mail reghelpline@idpr.idaho.gov
 
To request boater handbooks and other boat safety materials
contact David Dahms at (208) 514-2412 or david.dahms@idpr.idaho.gov
 
If you are selling/buying a boat, please review the information posted
on the Frequently Asked Questions Tab (last question)
 
 

Mind Your Wake

Minimize damage to shorelines, docks, and other structures by following these simple guidelines while on the water:

 

 

WSIA Driver's Etiquette: The Wake Zone (2017) from WaterSports IndustryAssociation on Vimeo.