DEC: Tips for boaters to safely enjoy Vermont’s lakes

As boaters visit Vermont’s lakes and ponds this summer, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) offers tips to stay safe and protect natural resources.

“Vermont’s lakes offer great places to fish, boat, swim, and enjoy being outside,” said DEC Commissioner John Beling. “These lakes also provide important habitat for wildlife and drinking water for many Vermonters. Balancing recreational use with natural resource conservation is a constant goal.”

In 1994, the State of Vermont created the Use of Public Waters Rules ( so that everyone can use and enjoy public lakes and ponds in a safe and environmentally friendly manner. The DEC suggests that boaters follow these tips before, while, and after boating:

Before boating:

  1. Get to know the rules and read the access area signage for updates
  2. Find out the weather conditions, get familiar with known hazards, and bring a map
  3. Check for valid registration stickers and cards
  4. Bring the right safety gear for boats, watercraft, or vessels
  5. Clean, drain, and dry ( boats before getting into the water to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species

While boating:

  1. Drive or operate boats at a no wake speed (or 5 mph) within 200 feet of the shore
  2. Operate boats no faster than 5 mph within 200 feet of people, wildlife, other boats, docks, or swimming areas
  3. Follow all navigational rules ( when coming across other boats
  4. Operate boats in a careful and responsible manner
  5. Always respect private property

After boating:

  1. Throw away any trash properly
  2. Clean, drain, and dry boats after getting out of the water to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species
  3. Maintain boats often to ensure safety and to prevent gas and oil spills

To view more tips and learn more about the rules, view the Boating Resource Guide ( To get answers to frequently asked questions about using lakes and ponds, watch this video by DEC(

The Vermont State Police Marine Division and the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (VT F&W) Wardens enforce the Use of Public Waters Rules. Members of the public may report any issues or concerns related to violations of these rules to the Vermont State Police and/or VT F&W.

If Oliver Pierson is not available, contact Sergeant Trevor Carbo of the Vermont State Police Marine Division at 802-878-7111 or or Sergeant Jenna Reed of VT F&W at 802-878-7111 or

The Department of Environmental Conservation is responsible for protecting Vermont’s natural resources and safeguarding human health for the benefit of this and future generations. Visit and follow the Department of Environmental Conservation on Facebook and Instagram.

Image courtesy of Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation