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Ask Fish and Game: Life Jackets

Q. Are waterfowl hunters required to wear life jackets in a boat?

A. Idaho law requires a life jacket on board for every passenger, and a throw-able personal floatation device is required in boats more than 16 feet long. Occupants 14 and under in a boat less than 20 feet long, are required to wear a life jacket if the boat is under way. But life jackets only work if they are worn. Overloaded boats and failure to wear life jackets are leading reasons Idaho typically loses a couple of waterfowl hunters every year. In 2011, 70 percent of all fatal boating accidents victims drowned, and of those, 84 percent were not wearing a life jacket. Eight of every 10 boaters who drowned were in vessels less than 21 feet long. Wearing a life vest is a must. It will help preserve body heat and keeps even an unconscious person afloat.