New Mexico Boating - Get Refreshed!
Take a Boating Adventure
With over 1200 lakes and 200 miles of rivers, New Mexico is the place to find your adventure whether it be motorboating, sailing, kayaking, rafting or canoeing.
Launching your watercraft into our waters and enjoying a relaxing day of fishing from a canoe or kayak to the rush of speed from a personal watercraft isn't all you'll find here.
Many lakes offer primitive camping along their shorelines. Others with sheltered coves offer the ability to houseboat with friends and family out on the water. If you don't have a boat there are a number of marinas who will rent you a boat. Other marinas offer boat owners the comraderie of marina life with hundreds of slips or sheltered moorings.
Supporting Your Boating - The New Mexico State Boating Program
Boating Safe and Smart in New Mexico
The boating program for the State of New Mexico began in 1973. The legislation that created the program made New Mexico State Parks responsible for administering and enforcing the state boating laws and regulations on all waters in the state.
Mandatory New Mexico Boating Safety Education went into effect January 1, 2007. New Mexico is one of 46 states currently that has some form of mandatory boater education.
"I would highly recommend the class to anyone involved in boating,
whether an old hand or someone new to the sport. It was time well spent." Best Regards, James Tightmeyer
Need the card? Select a course option here. New Mexico specific approved courses
are reasonably priced for the internet. Our Ranger taught courses by the State of New Mexico are still free and provide some additional insurance benefits and a two nights camping at a New Mexico
When do I Need A Boater Education Card? All operators of vessels (includes any motorized including trolling motors, sailing, or personal watercraft) even when supervised by an adult (operation by those under 13 years of age) must carry their proof of boater education when:
- Your Age in 2013 is 24 or under
- Your Age in 2014 is 25 or under
- Your Age in 2015 is 26 or under
- Your Age in 2016 is 27 or under
- Your Age in 2017 is 28 or under
- Your Age in 2018 is 29 or under
If you don't really know: how to equip your vessel, what to do in emergencies, or even know the navigation rules for being out on the water, maybe now is also the time to take a course.
Register on line for a formal course here.
Paddlecraft operators (kayaks, canoes, rafts, stand up paddleboards) are encouraged to take the free NASBLA-Approved online paddlesports safety course. The course can be found at: www.BOATERexam.com/paddling/.
Personal Watercraft Operators can avoid tragedy and unnecessary injuries by taking a course and knowing what it means to be taking care out on the water.
Additionally, operating contrary to the “Rules of the Road” or following too close to another vessel, including another personal watercraft is a major cause of PWC casualties.
"Following too close" can be thought of as proceeding in the same direction and operating at a speed in excess of [10 MPH] when approaching within [150 feet] to the rear of a vessel or [50 feet] to it's side.
Operators should at a minimum offset themselves and their PWC by at least 50 feet to one side and 150 feet to the rear of another vessel or PWC. That allows the operator in front to" head check" the location of the vessel operator to the rear and allows the operator in front room to manuever in case of an obstacle immediately forward is seen in the water.
The boating program also promotes youth water safety through free school programs. Bring a Ranger to your school.
Other boating program functions include waterways management planning, maintaining boating facilities including Aids to Navigation for New Mexico State Parks, administering the state boating accident database (All accidents by law, require a boating accident report to be submitted by each operator involved), and cooperating with the United States Coast Guard and its Volunteer Auxiliary. New Mexico has operating Flotillas Statewide (that any interested boater may join), and also helps other local, state and national agencies with water recreation management responsibilities.
Boaters can help reduce the need for unnecessary search and rescues by maintaining their vessels starting with using a checklist of maintenance and getting a Free Vessel Safety Check covering the items at the bottom of this page.
Mandatory Wear of a PFD/Life Jacket
for all Children 12 years and under, on all paddlecraft, on all personal watercraft on all towed activities.
For more information check out this video for hints. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JO-bjlWBKtc
New Mexico law mandates the wearing of a PFD/Life Jacket by all children 12 years of age and under beginning January 1, 2007.
PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICES REQUIRED.--The
operator of a vessel being used for recreational purposes shall
require a child age twelve or under who is aboard the vessel to
wear a personal flotation device approved by the United States
Coast Guard while the vessel is underway, unless the child is
below deck or in an enclosed cabin."
A recent childhood tragedy in Australia should remind everyone why our mandatory wear is enforced.
Lista de Orientacion por un Barco en Nuevo Mexico
Zona de chaleco salvavidas!
Para El Arrendatario de Un Motor Acuatico en Nuevo Mexico Acqui
Navegando en Estado Nuevo Mexico -
Un curso sobre navegación responsable.
Para obtener informacion sobre de navegacion Acqui
Get a Free Vessel Safety Check!
These are the folks that help you and your fellow boaters.
We also encourage boaters who have that interest to join up with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary!
They are a civilian group with some former military that dedicate volunteer time to the public.
There are two vessel safety checks available annually for free in New Mexico.
One vessel check is available trom the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and another from the New Mexico State Parks Boating Program.
Make a copy of your US Coast Guard Auxiliary safety check form and bring it to your boat insurance agent. It may qualify you for a discount on your Marine insurance.
For the New Mexico State Parks requirements those are listed in the NM Handbook of Boating Laws and State Park Regulations. A quick chart is the Required Equipment for New Mexico. A New Mexico State Parks safety check and sticker is available from Marine Enforcement Officers at most of the lake State Parks or from the Santa Fe Office.
Other than not having your required equipment on board, the main reason for problems out on the water is not maintaining your vessel. You may also want to check your vessel fro recalls that you can find at www.uscgboating.org/recalls/search.aspx and at www.boatamerica.org/recall/new.htm.
The US Coast Guard Auxiliary will be doing Vessel Safety Checks at the following locations for 2013.
- Abiquiu Lake - June 8th & 9th
- Ute Lake - June 22-23
- Navajo Lake - July 13th and 14th
- Heron Lake - August 3-4
- Heron Lake - August 17-18
Vessel Safety Checks look for the items below for powerboats, PWC's and sailboats (A separate check is available for paddlecraft and those that take the Paddlecraft Vessel Safety Check receive a free paddle vessel lost and found identification sticker.) .
State Registration Numbers on both sides of the boat with proper one character spacing or hyphen between the "NM" in the front and the two letters at the end, full contrasting color to the hull, use of minimum 3" block letters and numbers, and a current validation decal on port side and located 6" behind the state registration number.
- REGISTRATION (Certificate of Number - the "registration card" on board) or /DOCUMENTATION - valid papers on board (very large vessels numbered by the U.S. Coast Guard)
- NAVIGATION LIGHTS - must operate and be in proper configuration
- SOUND PRODUCING DEVICE - horn, whistle or other device
- BELL - boats 26 feet or longer (this is 39.5' elsewhere)
- LIFE JACKETS - one wearable for each passenger, also one Type IV throwable device. All must be in good condition and readily accessible.
- FIRE EXTINGUISHER - if required, mounted, minimum number and size for length of boat and type of boat, in good condition
- VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNALS - inland, a flag, visual distress signal, light etc.
- VENTILATION - for closed compartments with potential for explosive vapors and ingnition source. Installed blower must work. Warning is posted.
- BACKFIRE FLAME ARRESTER- approved type, tight installation and clean.
- FUEL SYSTEM - tanks secured. Tanks over 7 gallons are considered permanent and must be grounded and vented. Hoses in good condition, no leaks.
- ANCHOR, ANCHOR CHAIN AND ANCHOR LINE - suitable for the boat and the boating area.
- ALTERNATIVE PROPULSION - paddle or oar.
- SECURING SYSTEMS - minimum of a length of line the length of the boat, stout, and in good condition.
- DEWATERING DEVICE - bilge pump(s) works, extra manual one gallon bailer or manual hand pump.
- OVERALL VESSEL CONDITION - bilge and equipment area clean, well maintained. Not overloaded, overpowered, or any automotive parts.
- ELECTRICAL SYSTEM - batteries secured, terminals covered, well organized wiring, proper fuses/circuit breakers.
- GALLEY/HEATING SYSTEM - secure system, proper tank installation, no flammable material nearby.
- STATE REQUIREMENTS - operator education card if born on or after January 1, 1989.
- MARINE SANITATION DEVICE - approved device, overboard discharge sealed.
- MARINE POLLUTION TRASH PLACARD - only boats 26 feet and over, written plan for boats 40 feet and over.
- POLLUTION PLACARD - only for boats 26 feet and over, with machinery compartment.
- NAVIGATION RULES - copy of rules for boats 39.4 feet or over.
- FCC MARINE RADIO LICENSE - not a legal requirement for pleasure boats unless traveling outside of U.S. waters.
They will also do a visual exam of your trailering system.