Montana Code Annotated 2021



Part 5. Boats

Restricted Areas

23-2-525. Restricted areas. (1) A person may not anchor a vessel or other obstacle for fishing or pleasure purposes on any body of water over which the state has jurisdiction in a position that obstructs a passageway ordinarily used by other vessels.

(2) A person may not operate a pleasure vessel within 20 feet of the exterior boundary of a water area that is clearly marked by buoys or some other distinguishing device as a bathing or swimming area. Swimming areas must be marked with white buoys having international orange markings in conformance with the uniform state waterway marking system by the owners of the areas.

(3) A person may not operate a vessel within 75 feet of a person engaged in fishing or hunting waterfowl, unless unavoidable. If unavoidable, the vessel must be operated at not greater than no-wake speed or at a minimum speed necessary to maintain upstream progress while within 75 feet of the person engaged in fishing or hunting waterfowl.

(4) (a) A person may not purposely, knowingly, or negligently operate a motorboat upon the waters of this state within 200 feet of a tow-float or buoy displaying a "diver-down" symbol, red with a white slash, on a flag.

(b) The motorboat may enter the 200-foot safety zone by use of sail or oar. In an emergency or if there is insufficient water on either side of the 200-foot safety zone to pass by and stay out of the zone, the operator may use power within the zone but may not exceed no-wake speed. The burden of proving that an emergency exists or that there is insufficient water is on the operator.

(c) The fish and wildlife commission may by rule determine areas where establishment of a 200-foot safety zone is not allowed in order to provide for diver safety or the regulation of water traffic.

History: En. Sec. 10, Ch. 285, L. 1959; amd. Sec. 10, Ch. 514, L. 1973; R.C.M. 1947, 69-3510; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 44, L. 1989; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 28, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 569, L. 1999.