Guided Motorized Boating CUA



This CUA authorizes guided touring or fishing trips in motorized boats on Yellowstone Lake and/or Lewis Lake. Portions of Yellowstone Lake and all of Shoshone Lake are restricted to non-motorized boats.

General Provisions

  1. Watercraft Season
    1. Watercraft will be allowed to enter park waters during Yellowstone’s boating season, generally from 7:00 a.m. on the Saturday immediately prior to Memorial Day until 5:30 p.m. on the first Sunday in November. For the most up-to-date information on boating season open and close dates, please visit:
    2. All watercraft are required to have a Yellowstone boat permit and a Yellowstone Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) inspection before launching in the park. Watercraft include, but are not limited to, power boats, sail boats, canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, and angler float tubes.
    3. Permits and inspections are available seven days a week between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at locations throughout the park. For a current list on AIS inspection locations, please visit:
  2. CUA holders are limited to launching no more than 5 watercraft per day.
  3. If a watercraft does not pass the Yellowstone AIS inspection, it is not allowed to enter park waters.
  4. CUA operators shall arrive at AIS inspections stations with all equipment requiring inspection clean, maintained, and prepared for inspection. Equipment that requires any type of cleaning will be turned away.
  5. To prevent the introduction of AIS, the CUA holder must ensure all equipment is cleaned and dried before entering or changing Yellowstone waters.
  6. All park waters should be assumed to contain undetected AIS.
  7. Any watercraft, trailer, tow vehicle, or other article immersed in park waters known to contain aquatic invasive species, shall be thoroughly inspected prior to entering any other waters within the park.
  8. Any vessel having launched in a waterbody known to be infested with zebra or quagga mussels or in a high-risk area in the past 30 days must be decontaminated prior to launch.
  9. Watercraft equipped with sealed internal water ballast tanks are currently prohibited in the park due to increased risk of introducing AIS in Yellowstone waters. This type of watercraft has tanks that can be filled with water to produce specific wakes for waterskiing and wakeboarding (neither activity is allowed in the park).
  10. Commercial motorized boat operators must follow National Park Service (NPS) boating regulations found in Title 36, Part 3, of the Code of Federal Regulations found at 36 CFR Part 3—Boating and Water Use Activities. Safety equipment must be approved by the United States Coast Guard (USCG). All Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licensing requirements need to be followed. Information on FCC licensing requirements can be found at: Obtaining a License | Federal Communications Commission.
  11. Every vessel must have a current Yellowstone National Park watercraft permit and a map of Yellowstone and/or Lewis Lakes when operating there. Appropriate maps can be found in the Yellowstone National Park Boating Regulations. Operators are required to be familiar with and follow the rules and regulations found in this publication.
  12. "Class I (16'to 26') and Class II (26' < 40') motorized boats shall proceed no closer than 1/4 mile from the shoreline of the South and Southeast arms of Yellowstone Lake except to debark or embark passengers, or while moored when passengers are ashore." 36 CFR 7.13(9)(i).
  13. Motorized boats are limited to drift within 25 feet (~7.5 meters) of shoreline thermal features and submerged thermal features and are not allowed to land within a thermal area or within 32 feet (~10 meters) of thermal features. CUA holders are responsible for knowing the location of submerged thermal features and are responsible for vacating an area where a submerged thermal feature is discovered.
  14. This permit allows guided fishing from the watercraft. All clients who are fishing must have a Yellowstone National Park (YNP) fishing permit and must obey Yellowstone National Park Fishing Regulations. Fishing permits are required for anyone 16 years and older. Guides leading fishing trips must also have a YNP fishing permit.
  15. Fish that are kept should be cleaned at a cleaning station if possible. Otherwise, all entrails should have the air bladders punctured and then be thrown into the deepest water possible where they were caught. It is prohibited to bury, burn, or leave fish entrails on shore.
  16. All clients and guides must wear Type I USCG approved personal flotation devices (PFDs) that are properly sized and in serviceable condition.
  17. The CUA holder is responsible for ensuring that all clients are safely equipped and properly clothed for the activity and projected weather conditions prior to the trip. Each boat must have, at a minimum, the following:
    1. at least one woolen blanket/sleeping bag sealed in a watertight compartment or container
    2. spare paddle or oar for emergency use
    3. manual bailing device
    4. waste receptacle
    5. accessible whistle
    6. USGC visual distress signal
    7. first aid kit
    8. required lights, flame arrestors, fire extinguishers, etc.
    9. marine band radio or cellular phone is recommended
  18. While on Yellowstone Lake or Lewis Lake, the CUA holder or guide shall remain with their clients for the duration of the trip.
  19. One guide on each trip must have previous boating experience and knowledge of the lakes where they are guiding. All guides must have current CPR and first aid certification.
  20. Guides intending to operate a marine band radio must apply for and have available a marine band radio FCC license. Call (800) 418-3676 for forms or (202) 418-0220 for assistance. Currently, the National Park Service does not monitor marine band traffic 24 hours a day. During the summer, marine band is monitored during the day. Please be aware that cellular phone coverage does not cover all locations on the lakes.
  21. Felt sole waders and boots are prohibited in Yellowstone National Park. Rubber sole boots are allowed.
  22. Overnight backcountry use is not authorized under this CUA.

How to apply for this CUA activity

  1. Complete CUA application packets should be submitted via email to
  2. Complete application packets include the documents listed below (click on the blue links below to download each document):
  3. If your application is missing any components listed above, we will inform you via the email address or phone number listed on the application. Any incomplete applications will be placed on hold until all required documentation is received.
  4. Once your application packet has been reviewed and approved, we will send the CUA, NPS Form 10-115, via the email address listed on the application.
  5. The CUA holder will then sign and return the CUA form(s) to The CUA is not final until the signed form(s) are received by our office.
  6. Submit a guide card request for any guides/employees that will be entering the park under this CUA at least two weeks prior to their first trip in the park.
  7. Complete and submit Annual Report Forms—Due by January 31st following the operating year.

Last updated: January 12, 2023

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park , WY 82190-0168



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