If you ever hang out near any Idaho lake, you'll most likely see someone out on the water with their boat and they look like they are having the time of their life. That's an idea that comes with boating but it's only partly true. Sure, playing on the water in a boat can be a dream but sometimes owning a boat is a real nightmare. I love my boat but it is definitely the most stressful and expensive hobby a person I have. Mine is currently in the shop getting a new motor, so actually my summer has been less stressful than normal.

What Makes Boating So Stressful In Idaho?

Now, you may be asking yourself, if being on the water is so much fun how can it also be so stressful? Here's why: there are a lot of written rules you need to know by law when operating a boat and there are even more unwritten rules you need to know just so you don't anger everyone around you or get into an embarrassing situation.

What Are The Unwritten Boating Rules In Idaho?

When it comes to boating rules, most of them are covered in online classes and by law, but there are definitely some things you need to know if you want to have fun boating in Idaho and not look like a fool and make everyone around you mad. Here are the 7 unwritten Idaho boating laws:

  1. Get Your Boat in the Water and Get Out of the Way: The easiest way to make everyone around you mad and ruin the start to your day is to camp out on the boat launch or to have it take you forever to back into the water. Practice at home of you have to, but you should be able to maneuver a trailer decently before you hit up a popular lake. It really shouldn't take much more than five minutes to get in and move your truck if you've prepared properly. You also need to move your boat as quickly as possible to another section of the dock so others can load or unload their boats.
  2. Look Around the Boat Ramp and Parking Area First: Heaven forbid, but there may already be people at the lake when you get there. Before you start taking the ties off your boat and getting ready to back into the water you should make sure there's room for you. Parking lots that fit trailers fill up fast.
  3. Make Sure You Have Your Keys: There are two situations you might run into with your keys, you might have forgotten to bring them or you just can't find them. Either way you'll want to make sure you have them before you leave your house and definitely before you have your truck backed into the water and your boat is starting to float away.
  4. Don't Park Like an Idiot: After your boat is in the water and you have moved out of the way as quickly as you can you'll need to get your truck and trailer parked. PLEASE be courteous when you park. Not many things are more irritating than someone who takes up too much space or parks over lines. Parking is scarce at the lake so make sure you are smart about it.
  5. Get Out of the Tie-down Area: This applies to before you drop your boat and after you've loaded it up to head back home. While you are waiting to drop your boat in the water is a great time to untie any straps or other prep that can be done out of the water and out of everyone else's way. When you are loading your boat to get out of the water, get it on the trailer with the minimal fasteners and move. You can do the finishing tie-down and securing somewhere else than the boat loading area.
  6. Be Patient and Wait Your Turn: This goes along with the 'Look Around' rule. There may be other people waiting to use the boat ramp. You don't want to start cutting in line and causing problems. As long as other people are using these public spaces there is a good chance that even if everyone follows all these unwritten rules that you'll still have to be patient sometimes.
  7. Load Your Boat and Get Out of the Way: Much like the rule to get out of the way as fast as you can while dropping your boat in the water you need to load your boat and move as fast as possible too. Unless you are certain there isn't anyone else waiting on you, you pretty much need to do everything fast and efficiently when boating in Idaho.
Get our free mobile app

Idaho's Tallest Peaks To Climb

Thousand Springs State Park

Don't Do These 10 Things In Twin Falls