Idaho Boating Laws and Regulations

Age and Operator Restrictions

Although there is no statewide law specifying a minimum age to operate a vessel, all operators must be competent and are held responsible for knowing the navigation rules. In addition, there are local age regulations, for example in Benewah, Bonner, and Kootenai counties. Be sure to contact the counties and cities where you plan to boat about their local ordinances.

Additional Information

Idaho law requires boater education under these conditions:

  • Personal watercraft rental businesses must provide education to each person who will ride and operate the PWC. The operator of the PWC must carry a verification wallet card. The Idaho State Parks and Recreation provides the education materials to rental businesses.
  • In addition to penalties, boat operators are required to pass a boating course if they are convicted of operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Boat operators who are repeat offenders of any boating law or rule also are required to pass a boating course.

Enforcement

Idaho law enforcement officers patrol the waterways to make your boating experience safe and pleasant. Cooperate with them by following the laws and guidelines.

Carry the Card: Vessel operators who are required to have a Boater Education Card must carry the card on board the vessel and have it available for inspection by an enforcement officer.

Penalty: Not carrying your Boater Education Card when one is required can result in a fine.

Reciprocity

For visiting boaters, all states, territories, and provinces will recognize boating education cards that meet NASBLA requirements and Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator Cards that meet Transport Canada’s requirements. (This is known as “reciprocity.”)

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