When summer rolls around and people start pulling sheets off their boats in the garage, sometimes a refresher course on the Utah Boating Laws is required. Utah is home to some of the most amazing lakes and waterways for boating, and staying safe while out on the water is always the number one priority. In order to avoid a boating accident, make sure you read over these laws before you grab your sunscreen and swimsuits and head out!
Registration Requirements: A boat is considered any type of watercraft capable of transporting person(s) on the water. All boats are subject to Utah’s boating rules and regulations. If the boat has a motor or is a sailboat, it needs to be registered and numbered. All boat registrations are processed by the Utah State Tax Commission, Division of Motor Vehicles. The registration certificate must be carried on board the boat for which it is issued and must be available for inspection whenever the boat is in operation.
Equipment Requirements: Safety equipment is required for all boats. On board, you must have:
•Lifejackets for everyone on board
•A fire extinguisher
•A working ventilation system for gasoline powered boats with covered motors
•Backfire game control
•A whistle or horn
•A bailing device
•Spare propulsion (a spare paddle, oar, or motor!)
For more information, visit the Utah State Boating Laws. For a list of other safety suggestions, check out our safe boating checklist!
Operation Requirements: In Utah, if you are operating a Personal Water Craft (PWC) and are between the ages of 12 and 17, you must take an online course. Persons under 16 may operate a motorboat or sailboat under supervision of responsible person 18 years of age or older.
There is a speed limit on the water when in a wakeless spread area and within 150 feet of another boat, swimmer, or skier (except those you are towing).
Alcohol is allowed on boats, however it is illegal to operate a watercraft under the influence. BUI laws are the same as DUI, with the same fines and penalties.
When a skier or wakeboarder is behind the boat, an observer (in addition to the operator) must be at least 8 years of age and able to watch and communicate with the skier. The observer must display an orange flag when the person(s) are being towed. Towing is only allowed between sunrise and sunset. Person(s) being towed must be wearing a properly sized lifejacket.
Lastly, remember to follow all posted rules and waterway markers. Stay safe on the water, and if anything does happen, remember to contact a personal injury attorney and keep yourself protected. Learn these laws before your next day out on the lake!