June 26 marks the grand opening for Horsethief Reservoir, and as always we want to ensure that everyone partaking in any boating recreation is safe, and has all required equipment aboard their vessel.

When boating on Kansas waters there are several equipment requirements that must be met to be lawfully operating a vessel. Before going out onto the water it is best to make sure all equipment that is required is on board. It is the responsibility of the operator to make sure all these requirements are met. Kansas requires that all vessels propelled by sail or machinery including trolling motors must be registered. Any boat that is required to be registered must have a certificate of registration on board at all times and must properly display their registration numbers on the hull of the boat. The key to enjoying your time out on the water is safety.

All boats, including kayaks and canoes, must be equipped with at least one wearable, Coast Guard approved Type I, II or III personal floatation device PFD for each person on board or being towed. All persons 12 years of age and younger are required to wear PFDs when on board or being towed by any vessel. While anyone older than 12 is not required to wear a life jacket, it is encouraged. In addition, boats 16 feet or longer, except kayaks and canoes, must be equipped with at least one throwable Type IV PFD on board. All PFDs are to be serviceable and readily accessible not stored in storage containers or compartments. Again it is the responsibility of the operator, not the owner of the vessel, to ensure all requirements are met.

Not all of the required equipment has been covered in this article. A complete set of boating regulations can be found on the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks Web site or by contacting a local KDWP office.

While out on the water be sure to follow all rules and regulations, and as always, be courteous to others using the same recreational opportunities as you. I hope to see many of you out there enjoying the recreational opportunities.

DANIEL HANEKE,

Natural Resource Officer I