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Colorado River Partnership

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Mission Statement

The mission of the Colorado River Partnership is to promote safe and knowledgeable recreational boating on the Colorado River through the combined educational and enforcement resources of Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah.


Colorado River: Boating In Multiple States!

This 223-mile stretch of the Colorado River is a year-round recreation area for power boaters, paddlers, water-skiers and anglers and spans four state jurisdictions. To enjoy a safe trip on the Colorado, boaters need to be familiar with both the unique characteristics of this desert waterway and some simple boating safety habits:

  • Wear a life jacket
  • Take a boating safety course
  • Carry all your required safety gear
  • Know your boat and its limitations
  • Follow the boating “rules of the road”
  • Be aware of weather and water conditions
  • Boat sober and be considerate of other boaters
  • Keep the waterways clean
  • Don’t Move a Mussel…Clean, Drain and Dry Your Boat

Boating Buzz Free

It’s not illegal to drink on your boat – but it is illegal to operate a vessel while under the influence of liquor or drugs. The blood alcohol limit for boating is 0.08% and a person convicted of BUI may receive a fine of up to $1000 and six months in jail. BUI is the leading factor in fatal recreational boating accidents. Avoid drinking beverages that impair judgment, balance, vision, and reaction time while boating.

Boating Under the Influence = 0.08% Blood Alcohol Concentration

Anyone who drinks alcohol on a vessel is at risk. Drunken passengers on boats can easily fall overboard, swim near the propeller, or cause loading problems by leaning over the side or standing up in small vessels, causing vessels to capsize.


Colorado River – Individual State Boating Requirements to Know

The following information may be downloaded and printed in a chart format.


Arizona Graphic

Boating Education Requirement: Boater education is recommended but not required.

Operator Age and Supervision: Watercraft with motors greater than 8hp: The operator must be at least 12 years of age. An operator under the age of 12 must have direct on board supervision bya person who is at least 18 years of age.

Life Jacket Regulations

Age Requirements: Children age 12 or younger must wear a wearable Coast Guard-approved life jacket while the boat is underway. The life jacket must be fastened according to the manufacturer’s recommended use and must fit properly.

Carriage Requirements: One wearable life jacket for each person on board. Boats 16’ or longer must carry at least one throwable floatation device, except canoes and kayaks.

Personal Watercraft (PWC) and Towing Life Jacket Requirements: Each person on board a PWC and anyone being towed behind a vessel must have on a properly fitted, wearable Coast Guard-approved life jacket for the intended activity.

Towing Rules (including water skiing, wakeboarding, knee boarding, tubing, etc.)

Flag: Use an International orange or red ski flag that is at least 12” by 12” to indicate a downed skier, a skier in the water preparing to ski, ski line extended from the vessel or a ski in the water in the vicinity of the vessel

Observer: An operator of a watercraft shall ensure that the observer of a towed person or persons must be on board and is both physically capable and mentally competent to act as an observer and be at least 12 years of age.

Time: Towing is allowed sunrise to sunset.


California Graphic

Boating Education Requirement: Beginning January 1, 2018, the mandatory boating safety education law goes into effect and will be phased in by age beginning with motorized boat operators age 20 and below. If you operate any type of motorized vessel on California waterways (including powered sailboats/paddlecraft), you will be required to pass an approved boating safety examination and carry a lifetime California Boater Card. Visit CaliforniaBoaterCard.com for phase in schedule and more information.

Operator Age and Supervision: Watercraft with motors greater than 15hp and sailboats exceeding 30’ in length: Operator must be at least 16 years of age. Operators between the ages of 12-15 must have a person 18 or older on board for supervision.

Life Jacket Regulations

Age Requirements: Children under 13 years of age on board a recreational vessel of any length must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket in serviceable condition and of a type and size appropriate for the conditions and the activity while the boat is underway. Exceptions: when the child is restrained by a harness tethered to a sailboat or when inside an enclosed cabin.

Carriage Requirements: One wearable life jacket for each person on board. Vessels 16’ or longer must carry at least one throwable flotation device.

Personal Watercraft (PWC) and Towing Life Jacket Requirements: Each person on board a PWC and anyone being towed behind a vessel must have on a properly fitted, wearable Coast Guard-approved life jacket for the intended activity.

Towing Rules (including water skiing, wakeboarding, knee boarding, tubing, etc.)

Flag: Use an International orange or red ski flag that is at least 12” by 12” to indicate a downed skier, a skier in the water preparing to ski, ski line extended from the vessel or a ski in the water in the vicinity of the vessel

Observer: When using a boat to tow someone on water skis or an aquaplane, there must be one other person in the boat—in addition to the operator—who can observe the person being towed. The observer must be at least 12 years of age.

Time: Towing is allowed sunrise to sunset.


Nevada Graphic

Boating Education Requirement: Motorboats with motors of 15hp or greater on interstate waters: Any operator born on or after Jan. 1, 1983 must possess proof of completion of a NASBLA approved boating course if operating on Nevada’s interstate waters, including but not limited to Lake Mead, Lake Mohave, Lake Tahoe, Topaz Lake and sections of the Colorado River System.

Operator Age, and Supervision: PWC: The operator must be at least 14 years of age.

Towing: A person operating a vessel that is towing someone on any device must be at least 16 years of age.

Life Jacket Requirements

Age Requirements: Children under 13 years of age must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket whenever the vessel is underway, except when inside a fully enclosed area.

Carriage Requirements: (Except sailboards) One wearable life jacket for each person on board. Vessels 16’ or longer must carry at least one throwable flotation device.

Personal Watercraft (PWC) and Towing Life Jacket Requirements: Each person on board a PWC and anyone being towed behind a vessel must have on a properly fitted, wearable Coast Guard-approved life jacket for the intended activity.

Towing Rules (including water skiing, wakeboarding, knee boarding, tubing, etc.)

Flag: Use an International orange or red ski flag that is at least 12” by 12” to indicate a downed skier, a skier in the water preparing to ski, ski line extended from the vessel or a ski in the water in the vicinity of the vessel

Observer: The observer must be on board the towing vessel and at least 14 years of age. Observer may be 12 years of age if a person 18 years or older is also on board the towing vessel. Must display the ski flag when the skier is down.