National Safe Boating Week Begins May 22, 2021

Tuesday May 18, 2021


David Dahms, Boating Program Manager
208-514-2412 or

Craig Quintana, Communications Manager
208-514-2254 or

BOISE (May 17, 2021) Officials from Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR) would like to remind all boat operators to keep safety in mind while recreating on the water this year.

“National Safe Boating Week kicks off this coming weekend and we want to take this opportunity to promote safe boating in Idaho. We would like to remind boat operators to check their boats to make sure all safety equipment is on board and in working condition”, says David Dahms, IDPR Boating Program Manager. “And remember, the number one thing boaters can do to save lives is to wear a life jacket.”

To get a list of required equipment for your boat visit to use the My Boat resource on the home page.

In addition to needing certain safety equipment and a current registration sticker, Dahms recommends that boat operators take a moment to review safe boating practices including:

Life Jackets

U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in four out of every five recreational boating fatalities in 2019, and that 86 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.

IDPR recommends that all boat operators and passengers wear life jackets to prevent drowning.  National Safe Boating Week is also a good time to remind parents about Idaho’s life jacket law for kids – all kids 14 years and younger are required to wear a life jacket on a boat 19 feet or less when underway.  This law applies to paddle craft like kayaks and stand-up paddleboards as well as motorized vessels.

Mind Your Wake

All boat operators are encouraged to be courteous and responsible, and make sure that the wakes produced do not impact other boats and paddle craft like kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards.  Those boat operators that cause damaging wakes or endanger the safety of others can be cited or even arrested under state law.  County marine deputies have the authority to stop unsafe boat operators on the water and take appropriate law enforcement action if necessary.

Drinking and Boating

Boat operators are subject to being arrested for operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  Last year county marine deputies arrested 46 operators for boating under the influence.

Keep a Proper Lookout and Operate at a Safe Speed

Most boat accidents are the result of violating a navigation rule.  Boats do not have brakes, so it is critical for the boat operator to have a clear line of sight and operate at safe speeds, especially in congested areas. 

Use Manufactured Seats

Persons riding on the bow of the boat can obstruct the operators’ vision resulting in an accident.  Worse, passengers can easily fall off the bow, gunwale or other areas not intended for seating, resulting in injury or death. All passengers should ride in manufactured seats.

Take a Boating Safety Class

All boat operators are encouraged to take a boating safety class to become more familiar with Idaho boating laws.  Options are available for online learning and home study so you can learn in the comfort of your own home.  Visit for more information on classes and boating safety.