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Nevada Boating Laws

Child in Inner TubeChildren

On January 1, 2003 many new boating laws took effect. Several of these affect children while they are on or operating boats. All operators of boats (including personal water craft ) born after January 1, 1983 must have completed an approved boating education course. This law only applies to Federal waters , waters that are shared between two states. For example, anyone born after January 1, 1983 must have taken an approved boating education class to operate a boat or PWC on Lake Tahoe or Lake Mead. Also effective on January 1, 2003 was a requirement that an operator of a PWC (personal water craft) must be 14 years of age to operate the PWC. If the person plans to operate the PWC on Lake Tahoe they also have to have completed the boating safety course and be 14 years of age. Children 12 and younger must wear a PFD ( a life jacket) while the boat is under way, unless they are in an enclosed cabin in the boat. Note that children under the age of 16 cannot wear an inflatable PFD.

Personal Water CraftPersonal Water Craft   

Some of the laws pertaining to PWCs change effective January 1, 2003. As mentioned above, the minimum age to operate a PWC will be 14 years of age. If the PWC is being used to tow a skier or wake boarder, there must be an observer in addition to the operator on board the PWC. The law changed on January 1, 2003, in that the operator must be 14 years of age even if there is an adult on board. Inflatable PFDs are not approved for use on a PWC. All operators or passengers on a PWC must wear a US Coast Guard approved PFD.

Bell Other Areas of Nevada Law  -   Warning Devices and Lights

In general, Nevada law closely parallels Federal Law. One exception to this, is the Nevada law pertaining to warning bells. Federal law requires that a boat or PWC shorter than 40 feet have a whistle or horn. A boat longer than 40 feet must have both a horn or whistle and a bell. Nevada requires that a boat less than 26 feet in length have a whistle, horn or other sound making device.  Boats greater than 26 feet in length, must have a whistle, horn or other sound making device and a bell. Another less commonly known Nevada law is regarding Navigation lights.  Powered vessels under 65 feet in length must have red and green navigational side lights that are visible for two miles, unless the boat is less than 40 feet in which case the side lights must be visible for one mile.  These vessels must also display a white all-around stern light, or a mast head and stern all-around light. This white light must be visible for two miles.   Note that the all around white light must be mounted  1 meter ( 39 inches ) higher than the red/green side lights.

For more details about Nevada Boating Laws, contact the Nevada Department of Wildlife for one of their new boating law handbooks.  You will find that it is comprehensive and very well written.  If you would like to take an approved Boating Safely course, click on the link on the right side bar.