NPS Required Gear List

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Pre-launch inspection at Lee's Ferry.JPG

The list below is found in the noncommercial regulations posted on-line here.

You will be required to have this listed material at the boat ramp at Lee's Ferry before you can launch your trip.

This list changes and you will want to double check your regulations packet. While fire blankets and kitchen tarps are a recommendation as of January 2009, they may soon become a requirement. We have added some additional notes for clarity, marked in brackets and noted with "Ed Note:". Remember, while we have tried to cover every item the NPS will look for at the put-in, you should double check your noncommercial regulations packet from the NPS for updates and things we may have overlooked. Here's the list:

Personal Flotation Devices (Life Jackets)

  • Each participant MUST have a serviceable U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (PFD) Type I, III or V.
  • One extra PFD must be carried for every 10 persons on the trip (i.e. a trip with 1 to 10 participants must have at least one extra PFD, and a trip with 11-20 participants must have at least two extra PFDs).
  • These PFDs must be maintained in good and serviceable condition in compliance with the USCG standards AND MUST BE WORN AND FASTENED PROPERLY AT ALL TIMES WHILE ON THE RIVER.
  • All PFDs must have a USCG approved label stating the PFD is designed for whitewater rafting, canoeing, sailing and/or kayaking. GENERAL BOATING OR SKI VESTS ARE PROHIBITED.
  • The PFDs may not have any holes, rips, tears, broken buckets and/or broken zippers. (Ed Note: see Life Jackets for more info)
  • On unsupported kayak or canoe trips, one extra PFD is required for every 4 kayaks and/or canoes.
  • If there are fewer than 4 kayaks or canoes, one spare PFD is required.

Throw Cushion

  • A throw-able cushion (U.S. Coast Guard approved, Type IV) is required for each watercraft 16 feet in length and over.

Oars and Paddles

  • One extra set of oars must be carried on each oar-powered boat or raft.
  • Two extra paddles must be carried on rafts that are paddle-powered.
  • On unsupported and supported kayak or canoe trips, one extra paddle is required for every 4 kayaks and/or canoes.
  • If there are fewer that 4 kayaks or canoes, one extra paddle is required.

Air Pump

  • When inflatable rafts or pontoons are used, each river trip will carry at least one air pump.

Repair Kit

  • Every trip will carry a boat patching and repair kit. (Ed Note: The regs do not state every boat 16 feet and over must have a minor repair kit, but the Rangers at the Ramp will look for this.)

First Aid (Major and Minor)

  • A major first aid kit is recommended and shall be carried on each trip. (Ed note: It says recommended but the Launch Ramp Rangers will look for this as it "shall" be carried.)
  • A smaller (Ed note: First Aid) kit must be carried on each boat or unsupported kayak/canoe.

Emergency Communication Equipment

  • Emergency signaling equipment must include a signal mirror of the U.S. Air Force type and two international orange colored panels, each measuring 3 foot x 8 foot, that can be placed in an “X” so as to be visible from aircraft.

( Ed note: The regs say "A satellite telephone or ground-to-air radio transceiver is recommended (although not required) equipment. The emergency telephone number is (928) 638-7911.")

Paperwork and Personal Identification

  • While conducting your trip, rangers may contact your party and request information such as a copy of your permit, passenger list and Lees Ferry check out sheet. It is the trip leader’s/permittee responsibility to have these items present. They may also request to check camping procedures to ensure regulations are being followed.
  • All trip participants must present a valid, unaltered photo identification (i.e. driver license, state issued identification, or passport) to the ranger at check-in.

Kitchen Equipment

  • Gas stoves (propane, white gas, etc…) with sufficient fuel for cooking are required on all trips.
  • Liquid garbage will be strained directly into the river through a rigid fine-mesh screen capable of holding small food particles; the solids will then be placed in garbage bags. (Ed Note: You can GOOGLE "Stainless steel kitchen strainer" to see the type of strainer that is allowable.)

Fire Pans

  • From October 1 through April 30, driftwood from along beaches may be used for warming and aesthetic fires. Gathering of wood from any standing or on-site fallen trees, dead or alive, is prohibited. All wood fires must be contained in a fire pan measuring 300 square inches; the lip of the pan must be 3 inches high on all sides.
  • Charcoal briquettes may be contained in fire pans 12 inches x 12 inches x 3 inches.

Human Waste Carry-out System

  • A human waste carry-out system will accompany all trips on the river.
  • This system must contain washable, reusable, human waste containers approved by Grand Canyon National Park.
  • This system must meet the minimum standard described under Sanitation and Food Preparation or other NPS approved toilet systems.
  • These facilities will be set up in camp and remain until the party breaks camp.
  • A washable reusable container must be accessible during the day.
  • Bucket systems like “Scat Packer” and “Vaga Bond” are NOT permitted on the Colorado River within the Grand Canyon because of their potential for leaking.
  • “Restop 2” and “PETT” systems are required for hikes and day use. They need to be deposited in the trash system and not in the washable reusable container.
  • Toilet systems must be designed in such a fashion as to provide for secure containment and adequate volume storage. Waste must be deposited directly into the washable reusable container no disposable liners of any sort are permitted. The container must be of value so that the container of waste will not be improperly discarded; therefore, the use of plastic buckets, paint pails, etc. is prohibited. Rocket boxes (20 mm ammo cans) are acceptable, but do not provide the best system for removal of human waste.

Motorized Watercraft Equipment

  • All motorized craft 26 feet and over are required to carry one B-II or two B-I fire extinguishers.
  • All motorized craft under 26 feet are required to carry one B-I or one B-II fire extinguisher.
  • One extra motor must be carried on each motorized boat. Also, spare motor parts of the types most commonly found to break and need replacement under river-running conditions (such as propellers, shafts, water pumps, etc.) must be carried.
  • Motorized water craft operation in Grand Canyon National Park must be registered and must display numbers and decals in accordance with the Arizona Boating and Water Sport Law, (AGF, Article 5, r12-4-501 through R12-4-505). *Arizona accepts boat owner’s home-state rules of registration for a 90-day period.
  • Arizona residents must register all watercraft except non-motorized vessels.
  • Four-stroke motors are the only type allowed on the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park.

Please don't rely on this list! Regulations change yearly so check out the latest Noncommercial River Trip regulations [here:]

Thanks to David Luinstra for layout suggestions.

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