My family and I were paddling downstream of Big Bend on Saturday when a jet skier wove in between our watercraft very close and at full speed. The jet skier had the sun in his eyes, and I was worried he didn’t see us. A little while later we landed at the Nude Beach takeout—popular with private and commercial paddle boarders, kayakers and swimmers. There I noticed five jet skis, whose occupants were drinking beer on the beach in between runs. They had a clear plastic garbage bag full of empties. According to the Utah Department of Natural Resources, Boating under the Influence (BUI) is the same as driving under the influence. The same legal limits—a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .05%—and resulting penalties apply. Boaters are also required to drop their motorized watercraft to idling speed when within 150 feet of another boat, person in the water or shore angler. For context, the river at high water in the area I am describing is about 150 feet at its narrowest to around 450 feet at the widest. In much of this popular section of the river, a jet skier should be passing you at idling speed, and idling around the beach when people are in the water. It’s hot and we all want to be on the river, so how about a little river etiquette? And, if you’re still getting buzzed by buzzed jet skiers, just call the Sheriff.

Rachel Nelson