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My Boat

What's Required?

No Yes


FREE Boating Safety Classes

Online Education and Test Providers

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 information about Idaho Paddle Sports Laws

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.  

Order professional boating publications

Marine Law Enforcement Courses

Register for an MLE class All classes full - no more registrations for 2016 will be accepted 

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

Submit public boating education and outreach events

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, by mail, at any Idaho State Park or at specific vendors.

Did You Know?

Boats registered in Idaho do not have to purchase an additional Idaho Invasive Species Fund sticker. Your contribution to the ISF has been included in your annual registration fees for your convenience.   

Contact Information

Boating Law Administrator
David Dahms
(208) 514-2412
 
Boating Education Safety Coordinator
Juelie Traska
(208) 514-2417
 
Boating Law Enforcement Training Coordinator

Randy Herman
randy.herman@idpr.idaho.gov
(208) 799-5126

Boating Safety Education Trainer
Ed Lyon
(208) 390-2622
 
Boating Program Specialist
Sadie Kennel
(208) 514-2426
 
For specific inquiries regarding boat registrations
call 1-800-247-6332 or e-mail reghelpline@idpr.idaho.gov
 
 

Attention Idaho Boat Owners:

The U.S. Coast Guard is making changes to the vessel registration process that will impact the registration and renewal process for all vessels and owners in the United States, including Idaho.

Frequently Asked Questions

I. Why do I need to be concerned with U.S. Coast Guard regulations?
Idaho Boating Law is based on U.S. Coast Guard Code of Federal Regulations

II. What are the changes to the U.S. Coast Guard regulations?
The U.S. Coast Guard changes concern:

  • Mandatory verification of your hull identification number (HIN)
  • New requirements for unique identifiers for all boat owners

III. What is a unique identifier?
As you would imagine, a unique identifier is a number that identifies only you. It can be one of two things:

  • Your driver’s license and date of birth (Idaho residents only) OR
  • Your tax identification number which can be your social security number OR employer identification number OR individual tax identification number.

**Please be advised that beginning with the 2017 sticker year we must collect individual unique identifier information for every owner listed on the title or bill of sale.**

IV. Why is the U.S. Coast Guard making these changes?
The U.S. Coast Guard is making changes in order to:

  • Improve boating safety efforts
  • Enhance law enforcement capabilities
  • Promote the U S Coast Guard’s strategic goals of maritime safety and security

V. What is a hull identification number (HIN)?
Similar to a VIN on a vehicle the HIN is the number stamped on your boat by the manufacturer. It is not the number you put on the bow of your boat when you initially registered. The HIN is 12 characters long. (See example, image right)

VI. What should I be concerned about regarding my HIN?
The first thing you should do is to compare the HIN on your boat to the HIN on your renewal card or your registration from the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation AND the HIN on your title, issued by the Idaho Department of Transportation. THEY SHOULD ALL BE THE SAME.

  • If the HIN on your title is incorrect call ITD Boat Titling staff at 844-834-2446
  • If the HIN on your title starts with US and does not contain spacing between the US and the next characters you will need to contact ITD Boat Titling Staff at 844-834-2446
  • If the HIN on your renewal or registration is incorrect, call 800-247-6332  

VII. What types of new/additional information will be collected on my boat?
The U.S. Coast Guard requires us to collect different information on hull types, boat propulsion types, boat engine drives, and boat vessel types.

VIII. What are the next steps?
You will need to work with the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, the Idaho Department of Transportation, or your local DMV to update your records before you will be able to register your boat for 2017.

THANK YOU! We hope to spend the 2016 boating season working with all our valued customers to make this as smooth a transition as possible. We understand it is inconvenient and we thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation.

My Boat

What's Required?

No Yes


FREE Boating Safety Classes

Online Education and Test Providers

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 information about Idaho Paddle Sports Laws

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.  

Order professional boating publications

Marine Law Enforcement Courses

Register for an MLE class All classes full - no more registrations for 2016 will be accepted 

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

Submit public boating education and outreach events

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, by mail, at any Idaho State Park or at specific vendors.

Did You Know?

Boats registered in Idaho do not have to purchase an additional Idaho Invasive Species Fund sticker. Your contribution to the ISF has been included in your annual registration fees for your convenience.   

Contact Information

Boating Law Administrator
David Dahms
(208) 514-2412
 
Boating Education Safety Coordinator
Juelie Traska
(208) 514-2417
 
Boating Law Enforcement Training Coordinator

Randy Herman
randy.herman@idpr.idaho.gov
(208) 799-5126

Boating Safety Education Trainer
Ed Lyon
(208) 390-2622
 
Boating Program Specialist
Sadie Kennel
(208) 514-2426
 
For specific inquiries regarding boat registrations
call 1-800-247-6332 or e-mail reghelpline@idpr.idaho.gov
 
 

Attention Idaho Boat Owners:

The U.S. Coast Guard is making changes to the vessel registration process that will impact the registration and renewal process for all vessels and owners in the United States, including Idaho.

Frequently Asked Questions

I. Why do I need to be concerned with U.S. Coast Guard regulations?
Idaho Boating Law is based on U.S. Coast Guard Code of Federal Regulations

II. What are the changes to the U.S. Coast Guard regulations?
The U.S. Coast Guard changes concern:

  • Mandatory verification of your hull identification number (HIN)
  • New requirements for unique identifiers for all boat owners

III. What is a unique identifier?
As you would imagine, a unique identifier is a number that identifies only you. It can be one of two things:

  • Your driver’s license and date of birth (Idaho residents only) OR
  • Your tax identification number which can be your social security number OR employer identification number OR individual tax identification number.

**Please be advised that beginning with the 2017 sticker year we must collect individual unique identifier information for every owner listed on the title or bill of sale.**

IV. Why is the U.S. Coast Guard making these changes?
The U.S. Coast Guard is making changes in order to:

  • Improve boating safety efforts
  • Enhance law enforcement capabilities
  • Promote the U S Coast Guard’s strategic goals of maritime safety and security

V. What is a hull identification number (HIN)?
Similar to a VIN on a vehicle the HIN is the number stamped on your boat by the manufacturer. It is not the number you put on the bow of your boat when you initially registered. The HIN is 12 characters long. (See example, image right)

VI. What should I be concerned about regarding my HIN?
The first thing you should do is to compare the HIN on your boat to the HIN on your renewal card or your registration from the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation AND the HIN on your title, issued by the Idaho Department of Transportation. THEY SHOULD ALL BE THE SAME.

  • If the HIN on your title is incorrect call ITD Boat Titling staff at 844-834-2446
  • If the HIN on your title starts with US and does not contain spacing between the US and the next characters you will need to contact ITD Boat Titling Staff at 844-834-2446
  • If the HIN on your renewal or registration is incorrect, call 800-247-6332  

VII. What types of new/additional information will be collected on my boat?
The U.S. Coast Guard requires us to collect different information on hull types, boat propulsion types, boat engine drives, and boat vessel types.

VIII. What are the next steps?
You will need to work with the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, the Idaho Department of Transportation, or your local DMV to update your records before you will be able to register your boat for 2017.

THANK YOU! We hope to spend the 2016 boating season working with all our valued customers to make this as smooth a transition as possible. We understand it is inconvenient and we thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation.