The Mission of the Marine Division is to provide a safe and enjoyable boating environment on the waterways of Bonner County. This is accomplished through a balanced approach of law enforcement and boater safety education.
When fully staffed, the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office Marine Division consists of a lieutenant, two sergeants, and 17 seasonal deputies. As law enforcement officers, marine deputies respond to and investigate boating-related accidents, enforce state and local laws, conduct vessel safety inspections, and promote safe boating education on all Bonner County waterways. In addition, deputies routinely respond to water related calls for service, water rescues, and search and recovery operations.
The Bonner County Sheriff’s Marine Division is responsible for patrolling approximately 120,000 acres of waterway, which is nearly triple that of any other county in Idaho. The Marine Division safeguards Lake Pend Oreille (over 148 square miles of surface area), Priest Lake (40+ square miles of surface area), 28 miles of the Pend O’reille River and eight miles of the Clark Fork River. The Division also has responsibility for numerous lowland lakes scattered throughout the county.
In 2019, over 9,800 registered boats listed Bonner County as their primary destination. Local waterways also host visitors from neighboring counties as well as a huge influx of summertime visitors from surrounding states and Canada.
The Marine Division uses specially-equipped law enforcement vessels to complete their unique mission. These vessels include six aluminum hull patrol boats ranging in size from 24’ to 30’. The Marine Division fleet also includes a jet boat, a rescue dive boat and two high-performance personal watercraft.
Patrols are conducted throughout the year based on weather and activity levels with a vast majority of the activity occurring between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day.
All sailboats and motorboats must be numbered and registered. Learn how to register your boat as well as the legal responsibilities of all watercraft operators.
All boaters, regardless of experience, are encouraged to take a boating safety class to learn about Idaho boating laws and pick up some boating safety tips. Many families take the course together so both adults and children can safely operate their boat.