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Idaho Boating Laws

Idaho State Parks & Recreation

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Registration and Titling Requirements:

All motorized vessels used principally in the waters of Idaho, must be registered with the Idaho Department of Parks and Rec.


Following are the only exceptions:

 Manually powered vessel like canoes, kayaks, sailboards, rafts & float tubes without motors.

Vessels having valid registration in another state and not remaining in Idaho waters for more than 60 consecutive days.

Vessels documented with the U.S. Coast Guard.


The Certificate of registration and validation stickers expire on December 31st of each year.


Laws for Wearing of PFDs :

In addition to the federal PFD carriage requirements, Idaho has the following requirements for wearing a PFD:

If boating on a vessel that is 19 feet in length or less, children 14 years of age and younger must wear an approved PFD while the vessel is underway.

Every person on board a personal watercraft (PWC) and any person being towed behind a vessel must wear a Coast Guard approved Type I, II, III or V PFD. Ski belts do not meet this requirement and should be carried aboard as excess equipment only. Inflatable PFDs are not intended for use while participating in tow sports or other high impact sports.

Persons fly-fishing with float tubes are not required to wear a PFD on lakes less than 200 surface acres, but fly fishing pontoons do require PFDs on all Idaho waters.

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Mandatory Education and Age Requirements:

The Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation recommends taking a boating safety class such as those offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, US Power Squadrons or Idaho Parks and Recreation. Additionally, internet courses, such as the Boat U.S. Online Boating Safety Course, are also a good way to learn how to make boating safe and enjoyable for everyone.

Although Idaho has no mandatory state-wide education requirement, certain counties such as Benewah, Bonner and Kootenai, have age restrictions for minimum operator age. Please check with the counties and cities in which you plan to boat and familiarize yourself with local requirements.

Boat Speed Limits:

The Number one problem that boaters forget.

In Idaho, No-Wake Speed is no greater than 5 miles per hour!

It is illegal to operate your vessel at greater than no-wake speed (5 miles per hour) while within 100 feet of a dock, swimmer or other person in the water, except when safely pulling a skier off of a dock or returning a skier to the vicinity of a dock. Effort must be made by the ski boat operator to minimize the time spent at speeds greater than 5 miles per hour when within the 100 foot zone.

Boat speed limits are regulated by law for certain areas and conditions. When no speed limit is posted, operate your boat so that it will not endanger others. Always keep a proper lookout and never load a boat with passengers or cargo beyond its safe carrying capacity.

You are responsible for your wake!

Link's to:

Idaho Parks & Rec

Handbook of Boating