Boating safety

September 03, 2021
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Sheridan -

As the Labor Day weekend begins, Wyoming Game and Fish is encouraging watercraft users to be familiar with watercraft regulations and be prepared for emergencies.

This summer, game wardens have towed or otherwise assisted multiple disabled boats at Keyhole Reservoir and other waters. One scenario involved a boat with no power, no lights, no sound, and the operator's cell phone was dead. The person who called to report the boat missing only had a general location of where the boat was when it became disabled. It was after midnight when Department game wardens finally located the boat to provide assistance. 

“Thankfully, so far everyone we have assisted in disabled boat situations has been found safe,” said Moorcroft Game Warden Mitchell Kern. “In addition to the required safety equipment, there are some other items that boaters should consider carrying to keep comfortable and help us locate them faster if they become disabled or have an emergency and need assistance.”

Depending on the class or length of your boat, required safety equipment includes properly fitting life jackets for each passenger (including paddleboards), a U.S. Coast Guard-approved throwable flotation device, a fire extinguisher and a sound producing device.

Other items to consider carrying on your watercraft:

-A secondary sound producing device (air horn, whistle, etc). If the watercraft loses power, the horn on the boat won't work.

-A flashlight, plenty of water, snacks, and a jacket in case you do break down.

-Paddles are not required for boat inspections, but could help in unexpected situations.

-Charge cell phones before heading out, though keep in mind that not all waters where you might recreate in Wyoming have service.

Finally, tell a family member or friend a timeline of when you will expect to return from the water. 

If someone you know is overdue for their return, don’t wait to call for help. It is easier for responders to search in the day than at night. Game wardens can be reached through the Stop Poaching hotline at 1-877-WGFD-TIP.


- WGFD -

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