CHEYENNE - Wyoming’s boating season is now in full swing and with the busy Fourth of July holiday coming up, the Game and Fish reminds boaters to take special care to make sure watercraft regulations are being followed to ensure safety on Wyoming’s waters.
According to Game and Fish boating law administrator Carol Havlik, who oversees the state boating enforcement program, most boating violations occur from not having appropriate safety equipment on board.
Havlik said in 2011, boating officers issued 119 citations and 228 warnings for watercraft safety violations and that infractions of safety regulations accounted for 53 percent of all types of boating violations that were issued.
“The three most common violations last year were failure to provide a life jacket, failure to have a Type 4flotation device on board, and failure to provide a fire extinguisher for those boats needing this equipment,” said Havlik. “Type 4 devices include throwable buoyant cushions and ring buoys. Watercraft that are 16-feet and over in length must have one type 4 device on the boat.”
Havlik said that in addition, a separate life jacket is required for each person on board, and children age 12 and under are required to wear their life jackets when the boat is underway.
Certain boats also are required to have fire extinguishers on board. A description of types of boats requiring fire extinguishers is on pages 42-44 of the boating regulations pamphlet.
Other violations not as common as safety infractions include illegal operation of watercraft and boat registration and numbering violations. Still a concern is the Boating Under the Influence (BUI) violation. In the summer of 2011, nine citations were issued for the violation. The five year average is 12 citations per year.
Havlik said a take-at-home boating safety education course is available through the Game and Fish. “The course is free and sometimes insurance companies lower their rates for boaters that have completed the course,” Havlik said. “In addition, some states have mandatory boater safety education and a Wyoming resident would need to comply with the safety education of the state where the boat is being operated.”
Interested persons can call 307-777-4600 or their regional office for more information on the course.
Boaters with questions on boating laws, registrations, safety equipment, etc., can contact their local game warden or any Game and Fish regional office.
(Contact: Al Langston (307) 777-4540)