Wyoming’s boating season is just about here and with the thought of being on the water this spring and summer, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department reminds boaters to take special care to make sure watercraft regulations are being followed to ensure your safety on Wyoming’s waters.

According to law enforcement coordinator Aaron Kerr, who oversees the state boating enforcement program, most boating violations occur from not having appropriate safety equipment on board.

Kerr said "more than 50 percent of violations come from a failure to provide proper safety equipment (life jackets, fire extinguishers or throw-able flotation devices)".

Boaters are reminded that a life jacket is required for every person on board and watercraft 16 feet and over must have a Type 4 throw-able device such as buoyant cushion or ring buoy. Also certain boats are required to have fire extinguishers on board. A description of types of boats requiring fire extinguishers is on pages 37-39 of the 2015-2016 boating regulations pamphlet.

Registration numbering violations and illegal or reckless operation of a watercraft are less common, but something boat owners need to be mindful. Failing to obey regulatory buoys, overloading watercraft, creating a wake within 100 feet of a drifting vessel, careless or reckless operation and other unsafe practices. Boating Under the Influence (BUI) violations are still a problem and several boat operators were cited for this violation in 2015.

Wyoming game and fish officers are still encountering boats without an Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) decal and also out-of-state boats that have not been inspected before entering Wyoming waters.

Boaters can brush up on safe boating procedures by taking the Game and Fish take-at-home boating safety education course. The course is free and sometimes insurance companies lower their rates for boaters that have completed the course. Each boating regulation pamphlet has a pullout card that can be sent in to receive course materials…or boaters can call 307-777-4600 for information on the course. Some states have mandatory boater safety education and a Wyoming resident would need to comply with the safety education of the state where the boat is being operated.

Boaters with questions on boating laws, registrations, safety equipment, etc., can contact their local game warden or any Game and Fish regional office.