JACKSON, Wyo. – As boating season gets underway in Grand Teton National Park, all boaters are reminded to operate their vessel safely and with regard to others. Park staff will participate in Operation Dry Water, a nationwide awareness effort to promote boating safety and education about impaired boating, this weekend, July 4 and 5.
As part of Operation Dry Water, park rangers will provide heightened awareness and enforcement on all waters throughout the park. Rangers will also conduct vessel safety inspections. These inspections are meant to ensure boaters have all the requisite safety gear on board including:
Personal flotation devices (PFD) for everyone on board the vessel. These must be U.S. Coast Guard-approved, appropriately sized, and readily accessible. Children age 12 and under must wear them at all times.
- A sound-making device such as an air horn or whistle for emergencies.
- Navigation lights for all watercraft that will operate at night.
- A throwable flotation device such as a seat cushion or ring buoy as required on all motorized vessels 16 feet in length or longer and must be U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type IV devices.
- Fire extinguishers for motorized vessels with an internal fuel tank.
Rangers will also perform lake and river patrols to increase awareness about the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boating deaths in the United States. It is illegal to operate a vessel with a blood alcohol concentration level of .08 or higher.
Everyone boating and recreating on Jackson Lake should respect other recreationists. Boaters on the lake have many different interests, including fishing, wildlife watching, access to wilderness, and water sports. Music should be kept to a reasonable volume and adequate space given to other boats.
A park boat permit and a state of Wyoming aquatic invasive species decal, as well as an aquatic invasive species (AIS) inspection, are required before launching on any park waters.
During Operation Dry Water weekend last year, park rangers conducted over 75 boating inspections resulting in numerous warnings, with some citations and termination of voyages issued.
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