Beginning June 1, motorboats will be required to give a little more elbowroom to anglers and waterfowl hunters, and jet skis and similar personal water craft will no longer be permitted on sections of the Missouri River.
A new law passed by the 1999 Montana Legislature expands to 75 feet the distance motorboats must give way to anglers and waterfowl hunters on all waters. In past years, the give- way zone was set at 50 feet. In addition, any motorboat that cannot avoid the 75-foot zone must travel at a "no-wake" speed or the minimum speed necessary to maintain upstream progress.
House Bill 626 also expands the restricted area around a "diver-down" flag to 200 feet, and similarly expands the Personal Water Craft or PWC no-wake zone to 200 feet when near a dock, swimmer, swimming raft, non-motorized or anchored boat. In past years the no-wake zones were set at 100 feet on lakes and 50 feet on rivers.
The new legislation also prohibits PWCs from operating on the Missouri River from its headwaters downstream to Prewett Creek, including all tributaries. PWC are permitted to operate on Canyon Ferry, Hauser, and Holter reservoirs. HB 626 also requires all boats to travel at no-wake speed from Hauser Dam downstream to Beaver Creek.