things to do in the water
Boating is one of those classic summer pastimes—getting the whole family out on the sparkling Flathead Lake to water ski, or heading out on the Blackfoot River for a solo drift-boat fishing trip. Motor or man powered, your boat has a place in Montana, and so does your next boating adventure.
Motorboats are allowed on most lakes and some larger rivers, while smaller lakes and rivers may have restrictions. All motorboats must have a valid license and all users should wear a personal floatation device (PFD). To help prevent the spread of invasive weeds and species, boaters should be sure to inspect, clean and dry their equipment before entering a new body of water.
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Children 12 years old or younger may not operate a motorboat or a personal watercraft powered by a motor rated at more than 10 horsepower unless accompanied by someone 18 years of age or older.
Youths 13 and 14 years of age may not operate those vessels without possessing a valid Montana motorboat operator's safety certificate or evidence of completing an approved boating safety course or unless accompanied by someone 18 years of age or older.
Designated swimming areas are marked with white and orange buoys. It is unlawful to deface, disturb, remove or relocate any authorized buoys. For more information on boating in Montana and for rules and regulations, please visit Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks boating rules.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks offers a boat safety education program that includes a home-study course for motorboat and personal watercraft operators. Individuals 13 years of age or older who successfully complete the course will receive a motorboat operator's certificate. To obtain a motorboat home-study course packet, contact your regional Fish, Wildlife & Parks office or call the state headquarters at 406.444.2535. Boating classes are also offered by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
To rent a boat with a motor rated at more than 10 horsepower, the renter must be at least 18 years old.
Water Skiing and Towed Devices
Personal Watercraft: Jet Skis, Water Bikes, Etc.
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