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Tips for Boaters to Safely Enjoy Vermont’s Lakes

May 26, 2023

For Immediate Release - May 26, 2023

Oliver Pierson, Lakes and Ponds Program Manager
Department of Environmental Conservation

Tips for Boaters to Safely Enjoy Vermont’s Lakes

Montpelier, VT – As boaters visit Vermont’s lakes and ponds this spring and summer, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and partners are offering a few tips on how to stay safe and protect Vermont’s natural resources.

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

It is important that everyone can use and enjoy public lakes and ponds in a safe and environmentally friendly way. Whether boaters are at a Vermont State Park, Vermont Fish and Wildlife (VFWD) Access Area, or other public water access, they should follow these tips before, while, and after boating:

Before boating:

  1. Get to know the Use of Public Waters 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 people, 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. Wear a life jacket.
  2. Drive or operate boats at a no wake speed (or 5 mph) within 200 feet of the shoreline; swimming areas; someone in the water; a canoe or other boat; an anchored or moored boat containing an individual; and anchorages and docks.
  3. Never operate a boat under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, or any other intoxicating substance.
  4. Follow all navigational rules when coming across other boats.
  5. Operate boats in a careful and responsible manner.
  6. Always respect state and private property.

After boating:

  1. Secure and properly dispose of trash or recycling.
  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 (VSP) Marine Division and the VFWD Warden Service enforce the Use of Public Waters Rules. Members of the public may report any issues or concerns related to violations of these rules to VSP and/or VFWD.

If Oliver Pierson is not available, contact Sergeant Jacob Metayer of the VSP Marine Division at 802-878-7111 or or Sergeant Jenna Reed of VFWD Warden Service 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.