Important Water Rules for Boaters and Kayakers

Enjoy the Water – By Paddle or Motor – By Staying Safe

The sun is warm and the water is bright. It's time to head to your favorite local lake or river for a day of kayaking or boating. But before you go, it's important to remember the rules that'll keep you safe.

Non-powered watercraft, such as kayaks and canoes, adhere to slightly different rules than your standard motorboat. Do you know the differences? Make sure you're prepared for your next outing by following these simple safety rules for Pennsylvania boating.

Pennsylvania Kayak and Canoe Laws

Boat and Kayak Safety

Kayaking is a great way to explore the natural beauty of Pennsylvania while enjoying the exercise and peacefulness of an unpowered watercraft. The maneuverability of a kayak or canoe means you access shallower waters and enter areas where common motorboats can't.

The PA Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) states the following regulations for kayaks and canoes:

  • Every person in a kayak or canoe must have a personal floatation device (PFD) readily accessible.
  • Children under 12 are required to wear their PFDs at all times.
  • From November 1st to April 30th, anyone in a kayak or canoe must wear a PFD.
  • Any kayaker or canoers on the water before dawn or after dusk are required to have a hand-held light to signal other boaters in order to avoid collisions.
  • All non-powered watercraft must have a whistle or other sound-producing device.
  • Alcohol is prohibited in all PA State Parks or on PFBC property while operating a kayak or canoe.

Pennsylvania Motorboat Laws

Boat and Kayak Safety

Heading to the water to do some fishing, tubing, or just to enjoy nature? If you own a boat in Pennsylvania, you should be aware that you're required to have a boating license. Beyond that, there a few important things you should know, according to the PFBC.

Ensure that your motorboat is equipped with the following:

  • There must be a PFD for every passenger on the boat.
  • Every boat needs a working horn or sound-making device.
  • A visual distress signal, like a flare, should be stored safely onboard.
  • Store an approved fire extinguisher on your boat.
  • Visit the PFBC website to learn more about required ventilation and flame arrestors for your boat.

Boating Safety is Key to Your Next Aquatic Adventure

Whether you're paddling yourself or motoring around the lakes and rivers, be sure to take boating safety seriously. Always be responsible when alcohol is involved. Never drink and drive – whether it's a boat or any other vehicle.

As always, if you're ever injured in a boating accident, we're here to help. Get a free consultation by calling us any time – day or night.

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