Fourth of July boating


CHEYENNE — A current watercraft registration and aquatic invasive species (AIS) decals, AIS inspection and safety equipment are three items that should be on all boater’s checklist for the Fourth of July holiday. Prepare now to get the most from the upcoming long weekend.

“We want to get you on the water, so registering your watercraft early can make sure there is time to fix any issues,” said Jennifer Doering, Wyoming Game and Fish Department license section manager. “Game and Fish offices are closed on Friday, July 3 to observe the holiday and will not be able to register watercraft or conduct AIS inspections on that day.” 

All motorized watercraft operating on Wyoming waters are required to have a current watercraft registration and AIS decal. Non-motorized boats like canoes and kayaks just need an AIS decal, regardless if a resident or nonresident. How to register a watercraft depends on if it is a first-time registration or a renewal. 

All watercraft owners may register or renew the registration via mail, as long as the proper paperwork and registration fees are included; allow several weeks for processing and mailing. If a watercraft is currently registered in Wyoming, a renewal can be easily completed online, at the Cheyenne Headquarters or at any regional office. 

Anyone who renews online needs to keep the receipt as proof until you receive your registration and decals —  about 10 days from completing the online registration.

All boaters are also required to undergo an AIS inspection from March 1 through Nov. 30 by an authorized inspector prior to launching in Wyoming’s waters. Boats that haven’t been out of state do not need to be inspected before launching. Any boat that has been in zebra/quagga mussel-infested water in the past 30 days is required to undergo an inspection prior to launching any time of the year. 

“Anyone with a boat must stop at an open check station on their route of travel, even if they have already been inspected or don’t intend to launch their boat in Wyoming,” said Josh Leonard, Game and Fish AIS coordinator. 

The fishing and boating section on the Game and Fish website has detailed information about AIS, check station locations and the 2020 Wyoming AIS Boater Appreciation Raffle boaters can enter after they get their boat inspected.

Finally, safety preparation, including checking and packing life jackets, is one of the most important parts to a weekend on the water. 

“Life jackets save lives —  U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in four out of every five recreational boating fatalities in 2018, and that 84% of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets,” said Aaron Kerr, Game and Fish watercraft safety program coordinator. 

Children 12 years old and under are required to wear a life jacket while the boat is underway unless they are inside an enclosed cabin. Anyone being towed by a boat or riding on a personal watercraft    like a jet ski —  is required to wear a life jacket as well. Life jackets must be properly-sized, U.S. Coast Guard approved and in good condition. Watercraft owners read the Wyoming Watercraft Regulations for full safety requirements.

All boaters are responsible for complying with all state and local health orders as well as encouraged to practice social distancing and good hygiene while traveling and on the water.

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