CASPER, Wyo. — Boating season is finally here, and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is urging residents to remember their life jackets as they head out on the water.

Life jackets, properly sized and in good repair, are required for every person onboard a boat in Wyoming waterways, and while residents over the age of 12 are not required to always wear them, they must be readily accessible and be approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, per Game and Fish.

Children 12 and under are required to always wear their life jackets while boating, Game and Fish says, adding that the same life jacket rules for motorized watercraft apply to kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards.

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

“Simply put — life jackets save lives, when they are worn,” said Aaron Kerr, Game and Fish watercraft safety program coordinator, in a May 23 press release. “Following the safety rules while boating helps ensure that everyone has fun on the water.”

Wyoming boating law, per Game and Fish, requires other safety equipment as well, including:

  • A U.S. Coast Guard throwable flotation device including ring buoys and float cushions on boats 16 feet and longer
  • A proper fire extinguisher on any boat with an inboard engine, permanently installed fuel tank, closed living space, double bottoms not sealed to the hull, or compartments that store fuel tanks or other combustible material
  • Navigation lights when boating from sunset to sunrise, including 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 additional information on Wyoming boating requirements, please check Game and Fish’s website.