Friday, May 28, 2010
The Memorial Day weekend kicks off summer boating in Montana. For many, the holiday weekend is the first opportunity of the year to get their boats wet.
While in some places boating, floating and kayaking are year round activities, in Montana vessels and their captain and crew have been dry for months. Don’t wait, if you haven’t checked out your vessel it is time to prepare for the 2010 boating season.
A quick way to begin is an Internet visit to the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Web site at fwp.mt.gov.
First go to the Recreation page to Rules & Regulations and select Boating for a speedy overview of important laws and rules of the waterways.
Did you know, for example:
When renting boats and watercraft: A person must be 18 years or older to rent a motorboat or a personal watercraft powered by a motor rated at more than 10 horsepower. All required equipment and a copy of the rental agreement must be on board rented vessels.
When water skiing and using other towed devices: There must be at least two people in the towing boat: an operator and a person to observe the skier.
When operating a personal watercraft such a jet ski or wave runner: A “no wake” speed must be maintained when within 200 feet of a dock, swimmer, swimming raft, non-motorized boat, or anchored vessel.
When operating a motorboat, sailboat, water skis, surfboard, or similar device: It is unlawful to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Remember that boating accident reports are required by law if it caused a death or disappearance of any person, an injury requiring medical treatment beyond first-aid, or property damage in excess of $100.
These days, safe boating means boaters need to be environmentally safe too. Aquatic invasive species are a serious, irreversible threat to Montana's natural water resources. To do your part in protecting Montana’s waters from these invaders, please inspect, clean and dry your boat and all boating and personal gear after leaving a lake or stream. The longer you keep your boat, trailer, waders and other gear outside in the hot sun between trips, the better.
Look on FWP’s Recreation web page for a guide to activities on the water and places to boat.