WGFD: life jackets and other mandatory safety equipment for boaters


GILLETTE, Wyo.— Boating season is finally here, and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) is urging residents to remember their life jackets when heading out on the water.

Life jackets, appropriately sized and in good condition, are required for every person aboard a boat in Wyoming’s waterways and although residents over the age of 12 are not required to always wear them, they must be easily accessible and approved by the US Coast Guard. , by WGFD.

Anyone being towed by a boat, driving another personal watercraft such as a jet ski, or wake surfing must wear a life jacket

Children 12 and under should always wear their life jackets when boating, the WGFD says, adding that the same life jacket rules for personal watercraft apply to kayaks, canoes and paddleboards.

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Anyone being towed by a boat, riding a personal watercraft such as a jet ski, or wake surfing must also always wear a life jacket, regardless of age, per the WGFD.

“Put simply, life jackets save lives, when worn,” Aaron Kerr, WGFD’s Personal Watercraft Safety Program Coordinator, said in a May 23 press release. “Following safety rules while boating helps ensure everyone has fun on the water.”

Wyoming’s boating law, according to the WGFD, also requires other safety equipment, including:

  • A US Coast Guard disposable flotation device including ring buoys and floating cushions on boats 16 feet and larger
  • A suitable fire extinguisher on any boat fitted with an inboard engine, a permanently installed fuel tank, an enclosed living space, a double bottom not sealed to the hull or compartments containing fuel tanks or other combustible materials
  • Navigation lights when sailing from sunset to sunrise include a red and green light to represent the port and starboard sides and a white light visible from all directions when the boat is underway.

For more information on Wyoming’s navigation requirements, please see the WGFD website.


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