There are various regulations governing the use of Kayaks, canoes, and boats in Iowa. These rules are responsible for restoring sanity within the Iowa waters, and without the kayaking regulations accidents are prone to happen causing deaths and other fatalities. Foreseeing such as a situation, the state developed sets of regulations and standard that kayakers and paddlers must adhere to and failure attracts heavy fine and penalties including imprisonment.

Iowa Kayaking Regulations are;

Kayak and Water Vessels Registration

An Introduction to Canoeing/Kayaking The state requires that all Kayaks and Canoes to have Iowa Registration Certificate, besides, these vessels to have labels in order to operate legally in public waters. This rules is applicable to all water vessels with an exception of Kayaks and canoes that are 13 feet or shorter. Moreover, the vessels should have no engine or sail.

Iowa Kayak registration and decals must adhere to the follow

  • Labels and signs must be placed for maximum visibility: This helps other water users to spot the vessels from a distance and avoid the same path the boat is using. Besides, the visibility helps during rescue operation, it makes it easy to locate these vessels in open waters.
  • All the vessels are painted and declared. A visible paint is recommended for ease of identification. The labeling should be affixed to the forward half of each side of the craft. With sideways painting, users can easily read, spot or identify a particular kayak.
  • All writings on the vessels to read from left to right on either sides of the vessels and must be at least three inch high. For the writing to be visible, it is recommended for vessels owners to apply BLOCK and bold letters. Blocks letters are easy to read spot and read from far or with an aid.

Required Equipment

Kayaks and Canoes to have at least one United States Coast Guard (USCG) recommended Personal Floatation Device (PFD), such as,  (Type I, II, or III) PFD (“life jacket”). Each person on board to wear these safety clothing. It is advisable to note that the lifesaving jackets are the first point of rescue before external rescue team arrives to evacuate users. In Iowa, Kayaks and canoes longer than 16 feet must have throwable rope of type (Type IV) USCG approved PFD on board. However, paddlers cruising the Mississippi or Missouri Rivers, or on federal reservoirs, children under 13 must wear an approved PFD.

For Iowa authorities to approve any safety clothing they have to:

  • The USCG approval must be legible on the vest
  • The PFD device must be in good and serviceable condition. The clothing must not have torn or missing straps, or even punctured floatation bag or missing hardware among other faults.
  • The clothing must be readily accessible and place within reach for the paddlers. Kayakers can wear them on quickly in case of an emergency without struggling.
  • The size must fit the intended person and should be based on the body weight and chest size.

Navigation Lights

Large vessels are required to have their navigation lights on between sunset and sunrises. This is applicable during heavy rains and foggy weather. For smaller vessels such as Kayaks and canoes, a user is required to have a lantern or flashlight shining with a white light will suffice.

Right of Way

This is a rule that applies for Lakes and Rivers. This is necessitated by frequent collision accident happening with boats and other objects in water. Research have found out that the number one cause of collision is as a result of Carelessness or inattention.

Kayak accidents can be avoided if paddlers adheres to rules and regulations. Other than carelessness, Kayaking while drank leads to head on collision with the oncoming boats and other vessels. Right of way is a rule that have many paddlers to avoid accidents. “If two crafts are meeting head-on or nearly so, both operators should alter their course to the right and pass at a safe distance.”

The right of way state that unpowered crafts, such as Kayaks and Canoes should be given the right of way over powered crafts. But in other areas and water bodies like Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, large commercial vessels have the right of way over smaller boats and kayaks. This is as a result of inability to maneuver by the big vessels.

Also check on the rule and regulations Canadian canoe transport authorities

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