Wyoming kayaking laws are set and governed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. All law enforcement officers of the Game and Fish Department and other police officers of the state or subdivisions enforce those kayaking rules and regulations.
Wyoming is home to a number of large rivers that wind across the state, encompassing many miles and acres of water. And don’t forget the huge Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park. This fantastic array of scenery and overwhelming availability of paddling water make Wyoming a great option for kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding and other boating activities.
Here’s a summary of what you need to know about Wyoming kayaking laws.
Not a Lawyer Disclaimer: I am not an attorney. More importantly, I am not your attorney. This article is not legal advice. If you desire legal advice, consult a competent, licensed attorney in your area.
Wyoming Kayak Laws Summary
- Wyoming Kayaking Laws – Wyoming law considers kayaks and canoes to be manually propelled boats.
- Wyoming Kayak Registration – Only motorboats powered by propulsion machinery must be numbered or registered.
- Motorized Kayak Registration – All motorboats and engines must be registered and numbered. This includes a trolling motor on a canoe or kayak.
- Kayak Operator Licensing in Wyoming – No license is required to operate water vessels in Wyoming.
- Motorized Kayaking Age – No one under the age of 16 may operate any motorized vessel unless accompanied by a person 18 years or older who is responsible for the operation of the vessel. (See below for further restrictions)
- Kayaking BUI Law – Wyoming has an Boating Under the Influence (BUI) law that applies to all vessels. No person is allowed to operate a watercraft under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other self-administered intoxicants. A person is operating illegally when their blood alcohol content is .08% or above. (see below for additional regulations)
- Kayaking Life Jacket Law – All canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards must have on board one USCG approved wearable PFD for each person on board. (see below for kayak and canoe specifics)
- Kayak Lights Law – Kayaks must carry a lantern or electric torch that can be displayed in sufficient time to prevent collision.
- Kayaking Sounding Devices – Only motorized vessels must have an efficient sound producing device on board. (see below additional for regulations)
- Kayaking VDS Law – VDS are required on kayaks when operating on federal waters at night.
That only summarizes Wyoming boating laws applied to kayaking and canoeing. The details are more in-depth and specific. Read on to find out how to paddle legally in Wyoming.
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Wyoming Kayak Registration
Do you have to register a kayak in Wyoming? No. Only motorboats powered by propulsion machinery must be numbered or registered.
Do you have to register a kayak with a trolling motor in Wyoming? Yes. All motorized vessels and engines must be numbered and certified. Registrations are good for one or three years and expire on December 21st of the final year of registration. – Wyoming Watercraft Regulation 2020 – 2021 Booklet
Wyoming Vessel Titling: All motorized vessels must be titled. Vessels can be registered and titled at the Wyoming Department of Motor Vehicles.
Wyoming Online Boat Registration & Titling Page – Boat Registration Application
Related Article: Paddle Board Registration
Wyoming Kayaking Operator Education Laws
Do you need a license to kayak in Wyoming? No. Boater Education is not required for operating any water vessel in Wyoming.
Do you need a license to operate a motorized kayak in Wyoming? No. Boater Education is not required for operating any water vessel in Wyoming. However, Wyoming does recommend completing a Wyoming Game and Fish Department approved boating course before setting out in any motorized vessels.
No person under the age of 16 may operate any motorized vessel unless accompanied by a person 18 years or older who is responsible for the operation of the vessel.
Wyoming Kayaking BUI Laws
Can you get a DUI on a kayak in Wyoming? Yes. Wyoming’s BUI law prohibits anyone from operating any vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You can get the equivalent of a DUI, a BUI (Boating Under the Influence) in Wyoming with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08%, or if under the influence of controlled drugs or other substances when operating any motorized vessel. Persons convicted of a BUI may be prohibited from operating a vessel in Wyoming for up to two years.
Related Article: Can You Get a DUI on a Kayak?
Wyoming Kayak Life Jacket Laws
Do you need a life jacket to kayak in Wyoming? Yes. All canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards must have on board one USCG approved wearable life jacket for each person on board, and all persons 12 years of age and under must wear a properly sized coast guard approved life jacket whenever the watercraft is underway.
Wyoming PFD Details:
All PFDs should be readily accessible, in serviceable condition, and of the appropriate size for the intended user.
PFD Age Laws
What age do you have to wear a life jacket in Wyoming? All persons 12 years of age and under must wear a properly sized coast guard approved life jacket while the watercraft is underway.
Type IV Throwable PFD
Do I need a Type IV “throwable” on my kayak in Wyoming? No. Only vessels longer than 16 feet in length must carry at least one throwable PFD.
Related Article: Kayak Life Jacket Laws by State (50 State List)
Wyoming Kayaking Lights Laws
What lights do I need on my kayak at night? All unpowered vessels must have at least one bright light, lantern, or flashlight which can be displayed in sufficient time to prevent a collision.
Powered vessels require USCG-approved red and green side lights as well as a 360 degree white light when not at dock. The white light must be visible at a distance of at least two miles, and the colored lights must be visible at a distance of at least one mile.
Wyoming Kayaking Sounding Devices Laws
Do I need a whistle on a kayak in Wyoming? No. Only motorized watercraft must have an efficient sound producing device on board.
The best “sounding” device for kayakers and canoeists is a whistle attached to your PFD in a place that’s quick and easy to deploy. We recommend you have one if even if the law doesn’t require it.
Here’s what we consider to be the best whistle for kayaking.
VDS – Visual Distress Signaling Devices
Visual distress signals are required when operating on federal waters between sunset and sunrise. Motorized vessels 16 feet and greater are also required to carry day signals. Visual distress signals must be USCG-approved, in serviceable condition, and readily accessible.
Night signals are required between sunset and sunrise when operating on federal waters in Wyoming.
Visual Distress Signals are not required for non-motorized kayaks during the day unless the boat is over 16 feet in length.
Wyoming Kayaking Fire Extinguisher Laws
Do I need a fire extinguisher on my motorized kayak in Wyoming? No. Even if you have a trolling motor on your kayak, if the fuel tank isn’t permanently installed and is of open construction, you aren’t required to have a fire extinguisher.
Regardless of the law, we recommend carrying a small class B-I fire extinguisher if you have a trolling motor on your kayak or canoe. The worst thing in the world is a fire on a boat with no way to put it out, especially if you’re far from the shore.
Wyoming Kayaking Laws Resources
- Wyoming’s Boating & Watercraft FAQ Page
- Wyoming Watercraft Regulation and Important Boating Information Booklet
Boating Law Enforcement
All law enforcement officers of the Game and Fish Department and other police officers of the state or subdivisions enforce Wyoming’s boat and water safety laws.
As always, USCG officers enforce federally controlled waters in Wyoming.