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Utah drought conditions could affect boaters this year

Boats are reflected in the water at Utah Lake's Lindon Marina in Vineyard on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. Yukai Peng, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Those who manage boating programs at Utah state parks say the drought we’re experiencing this year will likely impact Utah boaters. 

Utah State Parks Boating Program Manager Ty Hunter told KSL Newsradio some Utah reservoirs are already low, and launching from certain boat ramps may become difficult or impossible.

“It may mean that your favorite boating area might have some restrictions,” Huner said. “The ramp might run out there, and you need to look for different places and different areas to go.”

And if you do end up boating in different places, Hunter said, that can cause some challenges as well.

“Because you may be boating on unfamiliar water.” 

According to the webpage operated by Utah State Parks, low water levels can expose navigation hazards that could rattle even an experienced boater.

Some of the Utah boating laws, rules, and safety practices include:

  • Checking reservoir and boat ramp status before getting on the road
  • Operating at a wakeless speed within 150-feet of another vessel, fishing dock, swimmer, etc.
  • Following the rules on common waterway markers
  • Ensuring children are wearing appropriate United States Coast Guard-(USCG) approved life jackets and that you are following all life jacket laws
  • Ensuring children have taken appropriate education courses before operating a vessel
  • Not operating a vessel under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Avoid boating at night. It is always extremely dangerous and should be avoided if possible
  • Not swimming around boats that have engines or generators running due to the nature of propeller cuts and carbon monoxide poisoning

Along with the potential for dangerous boating conditions, Hunter told KSL that Utah State Parks officials could end up closing some reservoirs for boating much earlier in the season than in previous years.

Boaters can check the status of boat ramp conditions here.

Utah State Parks also offers information about how to choose the correct life jacket, here.

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