Boat Safety

Ranger out of uniform on dock
A visitor boating in the park.


Boating Checklist

Voyageurs is a boater's paradise, but be sure to review this safety checklist before venturing onto the waters of the park.

  • Always wear your life jacket: Minnesota state law requires all watercraft (including canoes and kayaks) to have one wearable U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (PFD) on board and accessible for each person in the watercraft. The Coast Guard requires all children less than 13 years of age to wear a life jacket when in a recreational boat.
  • Type IV throwable cushion or ring: Minnesota state law requires, on boats 16 feet or longer (excluding canoes and kayaks) to have at least one of these on board and accessible.
  • Riding on the bow or gunwale is prohibited: All passengers should stay seated within the boat while the boat is moving.
  • Know where you can re-fuel your boat: Many lakeside resorts offer fueling options from the water.
  • Don't drink & drive: County Sheriff, U.S. Coast Guard staff and park rangers enforce laws prohibiting boat operations under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Navigational charts can be purchased from the Jefferson National Parks Association. It is also handy to have a handheld GPS device, or to download a boating navigation app such as Navionics to your smartphone.
  • Navigation Lights at night: Navigation lights must be on from sunset to sunrise.
  • Whistle or horn: Ensure you have a whistle or horn capable of producing a continuous sound for two seconds and audible for at least one-half mile.
  • Anchor, paddles or oars, and lines: Have these available in-case your vessel becomes disabled.
  • Spare propeller and shear pin: Have spare equipment and needed tools available to do quick fixes.
  • Flashlight and first aid kit: In-case of emergency have the essentials on board.

Last updated: March 4, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Voyageurs National Park Headquarters
360 Hwy 11 East

International Falls, MN 56649



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