Idaho's State Boating Laws

In Idaho there is no 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.

Idaho law requires boater education under these conditions:

  • Personal watercraft rental business must provide boater education to each person who will ride and operate the PWC. The operator of the PWC must carry a verification wallet card. The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation provides the boater education materials to rental businesses.
  • In addition to penalties, boat operators are required to pass a boater education 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.

Boating laws in Idaho are enforced by:

  • The sheriffs and deputy sheriffs of the respective counties.
  • The Coast Guard (on federal waters).

Law enforcement officers and all Idaho peace officers have the authority to stop and board vessels to ensure they are complying with state and federal laws. Refusal to stop your vessel after being given a visual or audible signal to do so is illegal.