Consider the best way to approach others on the water so your presence and actions do not affect their experience. This includes giving as much room as possible to anglers

Motorized Vessels

  • Motorized vessels yield to nonmotorized vessels such as canoes, sailboats, rowboats, and paddleboards.
  • Operate motorized vessels only where permitted and at a safe speed.
  • When towing someone behind your boat, always have an observer with a man-down flag.
  • Be aware of your wake. You are responsible for your wake and any impact it may cause.
  • When crossing wakes, cross at low speeds far behind the vessel and keep a close lookout for skiers and other towed watercraft.
  • When two motorized vessels cross paths, the vessel on the right has the right-of-way.
  • When approaching another vessel head-on, neither has the right-of-way and both should slow down and steer to the right.
  • When overtaking and passing, the vessel you are passing has the right-of-way. Pass on either side, but alert the vessel you are passing by using one short horn burst if passing on the right and two bursts if passing on the left.
  • Stay at least 150 feet away from other vessels, swimming areas, anglers, divers, etc. If you have to pass closer, do so at a slow, no-wake speed.
  • Take a boating course and learn the rules of naviagtion.
  • Be courteous by keeping noise down, especially around the shore. Keep your engine well tuned and within acceptable noise and emission levels.


  • Be sure to properly dispose of used or tangled fishing line.
  • Give other anglers sufficient distance. Maintain at least a two-cast distance whenever possible to avoid crossing lines.
  • Properly dispose of entrails when cleaning fish. This may require packing them out, burying them more than 100 yards from the water or disposing of them in running water or water greater than 25 feet deep.
  • Check to make sure the area is clear before casting your line.
  • Never fish in designated swimming areas.
  • Exercise caution when fishing in narrows and watch out for others.

Nonmotorized Craft

  • Consider the best way to approach others on the water so your presence and actions do not affect their experience. This includes giving as much room as possible to anglers.
  • Try to hold your position upstream when approaching an angler who has hooked a fish.
  • Respect the rights of anglers and land owners when paddling.
  • Always stay alert for other boat traffic, both motorized and non-motorized.
  • Be aware of and obey all local rules and regulations involving safety and navigation.
  • Be an aquatic ambassador. Be mindful of other users and the aquatic environment. Your actions reinforce that a responsible boater is a courteous boater.
  • Obey all posted signs and markers – speed limits, no-wake zones, swimming areas, and navigational markers.
  • Always wear a US Coast Guard-approved life preserver while on the water.
  • Be courteous of others on the boat ramp; launch as quickly as possible and then move out of the way for others.
  • Pack it in, pack it out. Dispose of waste properly. Litter left in and around water can affect wildlife habitats and water quality, as well as recreation downstream.
  • Always get permission from landowners when recreating on private lakes and streams or passing through private property. Know the laws for your area concerning navigable waters.