Who Needs a Utah Boater Education Card?
Anyone under the age of 16 years may operate a motorized vessel or a sailboat only if he or she is under the direct supervision of a person 18 years or older. Anyone 16 years of age or older may operate any motorized vessel or a sailboat without any restrictions. Anyone 18 years of age or older may operate a personal watercraft (PWC) without any restrictions.
Anyone between the ages of 16 and 17 years may operate a PWC only if he or she has successfully completed a boater safety course and possesses a valid certificate.
Utah Boating License Requirements For Personal Watercrafts (PWCS)
Anyone 18 years of age or older may operate a personal watercraft (PWC) without any restrictions.
Anyone between the ages of 12 and 17 years may operate a PWC only if he or she has successfully completed a boater safety course and possesses a valid certificate.
Utah’s Life Jacket Requirements
Utah law says there must be at least one properly sized U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket for each person aboard a vessel. Life jackets must be readily accessible and not in an out-of-reach location or in original packaging.
Utah law requires that all boats have at least one wearable U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket of proper size, in good and serviceable condition and readily accessible for each person on board.
All life jackets must be used in accordance with the age, weight, activity and use restrictions listed on the U.S. Coast Guard approval label.
The only boaters required to WEAR their life jackets in the state of Utah are:
- Children 12 years of age and under while on board any boat that is in operation, unless they are inside the enclosed cabin area of a boat that is 19 feet in greater or length.
- PWC operators and passengers.
- Passengers being towed by a boat or PWC.
According to U.S Coast Guard standards, life jackets should be serviceable and inspected often. Before using your life jacket or personal floatation device (PFD, inspect and make sure that:
- PFD is free of rips, tears, and holes in the fabric.
- Seams, straps, and buckles should are in good condition.
- PFD is free of mildew odor and waterlogging.
- Buoyant material isn’t showing any sign of shrinkage.
- There aren’t any leaks (only if your PFD uses bags of kapok, a naturally buoyant material). To check for leaks, gently squeeze the bag. If there is a leak, throw the PFD away.
- The U.S. Coast Guard approved label is legible.
Boating and Alcohol in Utah
Boating under the influence (BUI) is the same as driving under the influence. The same penalties apply, including suspension of driver’s license, possible jail time, and fines.
A person operating a motorboat on Utah’s waters ins considered to have given consent to take any field sobriety test requested by an officer who feels the person in operation is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. If arrested, your boat, trailer, and tow vehicle may be impounded.
Alcohol is allowed on all boats; however, it is against the law for a person under the influence to operate a motorboat.
In Utah, boaters are considered to be under the influence if they have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level of 0.08% or higher.
A person convicted of operating a boat while under the influence in Utah will be subject to:
- A fine
- Loss of their motor vehicle license
- A mandatory jail sentence
- Community service work
- Rehabilitation assessment
Utah’s boaters must always comply with both federal and state boating laws and must follow any direction given by law enforcement. Learn more about Utah’s boating laws by taking the BOATsmart! Utah Course. Utah’s boating law authorities you’ll see on the water are:
- Utah State Parks and Recreation rangers.
- Other officers with law enforcement authority.
- The U.S. Coast Guard (on federal and interstate waters).
Utah’s Boat Accident Reporting Requirements
An operator shall immediately and by the quickest means of communication available notify the nearest state park ranger or other law enforcement officer of an accident that involves a vessel or its equipment when one of the following occurs: a person dies or disappears from a vessel under circumstances that indicate death; a person is injured and receives medical treatment beyond first aid; or property is damaged in excess of $2,000.
This notification shall include:
(a) the date, time, and location of the occurrence;
(b) the name of each person who died or disappeared;
(c) the assigned number of the vessel; and
(d) the name and address of the owner and operator.
Utah Department of Natural Resources Contact Information
For more information about safe boating in Utah, contact the Department at:
Department of Natural Resources
1594 West North Temple
PO Box 145610
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-5610