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Boating Laws and Rules

Utah's Boating Program aims to educate and inform boat operators about boating laws and rules established to provide public safety and protect our natural resources on Utah's waterways. Our efforts are funded through boat registration fees, state taxes on gasoline used in motorboats, and federal boating safety grants. With an ever-increasing demand on Utah's limited number of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, boaters must use their water recreation resources wisely. Boaters have the responsibility to practice and advocate safe and ethical use of our waterways. This responsibility includes properly registering boats, learning and obeying boating safety laws and rules, and sharing waterways with other boaters, swimmers, and anglers.

Highlights from Utah's Boating Laws and Rules

 

  • Equipment Checklist

    This list shows the required safety equipment that must be onboard your boat. This is a general list; in some cases there are more specific requirements. Please read our brochure, Highlights from Utah's Boating Laws and Rules, for more specifics about laws and rules. Because the equipment requirements vary depending on the size of the boat, you may need additional types, sizes, and quantities of specific pieces of safety equipment. Please also take a look at the second list of recommended optional equipment, at the bottom of the page. (PFD means Personal Flotation Device, and PWC means Personal Watercraft)

    Required Boating Safety Equipment

    Checklist Item Under 16 feet long 16 to less than 26 feet 26 feet and longer
    Display of Registration Decals Yes (a) Yes (a) Yes (a)
    Registration Card On Board Yes (a) Yes (a) Yes (a)
    Display of Bow Numbers Yes (b) Yes (b) Yes (b)
    Fire Extinguisher Yes (c) Yes (c) Yes (c)(d)(e)
    Spare Propulsion Yes Yes for vessels under 21' recommended for others Recommended
    Bailing Device Yes Yes Yes
    Sound Producing Device Strongly Recommended Yes Yes (f)
    One Life Jacket for Each Person On Board  (kids under 13 wearing) Yes Yes Yes
    Type IV Throwable Floatation Device (PFD) Strongly Recommended Yes Yes
    Proper Navigation Lights Yes Yes Yes
    Meets Noise/Muffler Requirements Yes Yes Yes
    Adequate Ventilation Yes Yes Yes
    Approved Flame Arrestor Yes (g) Yes (g) Yes (g)
    Capacity Plate Displayed Yes (h) Yes for vessels under 20' (h) manufacturer's option for 20'+ Manufacturer's Option
    Hull Identification Number (HIN) Yes Yes Yes
    Proof of Liability Insurance Yes, for PWCs and motorboats with 50 hp or greater engines Yes, for motorboats with 50 hp or greater engines Yes, for motorboats with 50 hp or greater engines

    (a) Required for all registered vessels. Registration is required for all motorized and sailing vessels.
    (b) Required for all registered vessels except U.S. Coast Guard documented vessels.
    (c) Not required for outboard motorboats of open construction; however they are recommended for all motorboats.
    (d) Vessels 26 ft to 40 ft must carry two B-I or one B-II fire extinguisher(s).
    (e) Vessels 40 ft and longer must carry three B-I or one B-I and one B-II fire extinguisher(s).
    (f) Vessels 40 ft and longer must carry a bell in addition to a horn or whistle.
    (g) Required for inboard gasoline engines equiped with a carburetor.
    (h) Vessels exempt from this requirement include: sailboats, canoes, kayaks, inflatable vessels, and vessels manufactured prior to 1973.

    Recommended Optional Equipment

    • Flashlight
    • First Aid Kit
    • Boarding Ladder
    • Tool Kit
    • Extra Rope (Line)
    • Anchor with line
    • Visual Distress Signals
    • Spare Spark Plugs
    • Spare Bilge Plug(s)
    • Spare Propeller(s)
    • Copy of the Navigation Rules
    • Additional Life Jackets
    • Additional Bailing Bucket
    • VHF Marine Band Radio
  • Hazards to Navigation

    Anyone placing possible hazards to navigation on the waters of this state shall comply with the following boating rules:

    R651-204-1 Placement of Waterway Markers
    No person shall place on or near the waters of this state any waterway marker, except a divers flag, without written authorization by a federal agency operating within federal authority or by the division.

    R651-204-2 Hazards to Navigation
    No person shall place any permanent or anchored objects on the waters of this state without written authorization by a federal agency operating within federal authority or by the division.

    73-18-2(5) "Division" means the Division of Parks and Recreation.
    To comply with this requirement, the entity or individual placing the waterway markers or permanent/anchored objects must complete an "Application for Permission to Place Device on Boating Waters" (PR69a) form and return it to the Division for approval.

  • Watercraft Restrictions

    Anglers should check with local, state and federal agencies regarding all watercraft 
    restrictions. The following lists are provided as information only and may not include all 
    waters with restrictions.

    Fishing from any watercraft is prohibited on the following waters:

    • Rainbow Reservoir (Tooele County)
    • Rock Creek/Upper Stillwater Reservoir (Duchesne County)

    Fishing from boats and float tubes is prohibited on the following waters:

    • Aspen-Mirror Lake (Kane County)
    • Duck Creek Springs Lake (Kane County)
    • Farmington Pond (Davis County)
    • Holmes Creek Reservoir (Davis County)
    • Pine Valley Reservoir (Washington County)
    • Settlement Canyon Reservoir (Tooele County)

    Fishing from a boat with a motor of any kind is prohibited on the following waters:

    • Anderson Meadow Reservoir (Beaver County)
    • Barney Lake (Monroe Mountain, Sevier County)
    • Blanding Reservoir #3 (San Juan County) 
    • Blanding Reservoir #4 (San Juan County) 
    • Bonnie Lake (Duchesne River drainage)
    • Boulder Mountain Lakes (Wayne and Garfield counties) (North Boulder Slope, East Boulder Slope, South Boulder Top, Griffin Top and Escalante Mountain; EXCEPT Pine Lake, Wide Hollow Reservoir and Lower Bowns Reservoir in Garfield County)
    • Bud Lake (Duchesne County, Duchesne River drainage)
    • Burraston Ponds (Juab County)
    • Butterfly Lake (Duchesne County, Duchesne River drainage)
    • Clinton Pond (Davis County)
    • Duck Creek (Davis County)
    • Fairview Lakes (Sanpete County)
    • Foy Lake (San Juan County)
    • Green River (Flaming Gorge Dam downstream to Utah-Colorado state line)
    • Labaron Reservoir (Beaver County)
    • Lily Lake (Summit County, Provo River drainage)
    • Little Dell Reservoir (Salt Lake County)
    • Little Reservoir (Beaver County)
    • Maple Lake (Utah County)
    • McClellan Reservoir (Utah County)
    • Monticello Lake (San Juan County)
    • Moosehorn Lake (Duchesne County, Duchesne River drainage)
    • Pass Lake (Duchesne County, Duchesne River drainage)
    • Payson Reservoir (Utah County)
    • Red Creek Reservoir (Utah County, near Payson)
    • Silver Lake Flat Reservoir (Utah County) • Spanish Oaks Reservoir (Utah County)
    • Teapot Lake (Summit County, Provo River drainage)
    • Tibble Fork Reservoir (Utah County)
    • Tony Grove Lake (Cache County)

    Fishing from a boat with a gas engine is prohibited (an electric motor may be used) on 
    the following waters:

    • Grantsville Reservoir (Tooele County)
    • Kens Lake (San Juan County)
    • Lloyds Lake (South Creek Reservoir, San Juan County)
    • Lost Lake (Wasatch/Summit counties, Provo River drainage)
    • Mirror Lake (Duchesne County, Duchesne River drainage)
    • Palisade Lake (Sanpete County)
    • Trial Lake (Summit County, Provo River drainage)
    • Vernon Reservoir (Tooele County)
    • Washington Lake (Summit County, Provo River drainage) Note: Tail Lake is considered part of Washington Lake when boating can be done without lifting or dragging the boat between the two lakes.

    Operating a boat above a wakeless speed is prohibited on the following waters:

    • Causey Reservoir (Weber County)
    • Lost Creek (Morgan County)
    • Smith and Morehouse (Summit County)

    Operating a boat with a gas engine over 10 HP is prohibited on the following waters:

    • Huntington (near the top of Huntington Canyon) (Sanpete County)
  • Accident Reporting

    If you are involved in a boating accident Utah's boating laws require you to:

    • Help other people involved in the accident
    • Notify local law enforcement officers immediately, by the quickest means of communication available if anyone dies, disappears, requires treatment beyond basic first aid, or if combined property damage exceeds $2,000.
    • Give your name, address and identification to any injured person or owner of property that is damaged in the accident.
    • Submit a completed and signed boating accident report to Utah State Parks and Recreation within 10 days. You are required to submit an accident report even if a State Park Ranger or other law enforcement officer investigates your accident.