Registration info, decals, skier-down flags, towing rules mandated
PRATT -- As of Jan. 1, 2007, any vessel that is documented with the U.S. Coast Guard must be registered with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP). A certificate of registration and registration decals will be issued to the boat owner, and the decals must be applied to the forward half of both sides of the vessel. The certificate of registration must be kept on the vessel, available for inspection, whenever the boat is in operation or moored on Kansas water. Prior to this change, "documented" vessels were not required to be registered with KDWP.

Another new requirement is mandatory use of a "skier-down" flag. Vessels towing anyone on water skis or similar devices must carry a bright orange or red flag and display it whenever a towed person is in the water, either preparing to be towed or awaiting pick-up by the towing vessel. The flag should be a minimum of 12 inches square and must be visible from all directions. The flag should not be displayed while people are being towed.

In addition, vessels may not tow people on water skis or any other devices from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise. Anyone using a personal watercraft (PWC) to tow must follow the regulations for PWC hours of operation, which are between sunrise and sunset. Boaters are also reminded that anyone being towed counts toward the capacity of the vessel.

Finally, all motorboats, regardless of length, are required to carry a mechanical sound-producing device, such as a horn or whistle, that is audible up to one mile. Vessels 40 feet and longer are also required to carry a bell made of proper material to sound a tone that may be heard during inclement weather.

Copies of the publication, 2007 Boating Regulations, will be available in mid-February at all state parks and KDWP regional offices. They may also be sent through the mail by phone request, 620-672-5911.