Skip to main content

Vermont's New Wakeboat Rule Goes into Effect for the 2024 Boating Season

May 1, 2024

For Immediate Release – May 1, 2024

Media Contact:
Stephanie Brackin, Communications Coordinator
Agency of Natural Resources

Vermont's New Wakeboat Rule Goes into Effect for the 2024 Boating Season

Montpelier, Vt. – Ahead of this year’s boating season, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has published a new rule regulating wakeboats and wakesports under Vermont’s Use of Public Waters Rules. This rule, developed in response to a petition filed by Responsible Wakes for Vermont Lakes, seeks to protect Vermont’s environment while balancing a range of recreational activities.

As of April 15, 2024, a wakeboat may only operate in “wakesports” mode in designated wakesports zones of Vermont’s lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. A wakesports zone of a lake or pond is an area of at least 50 acres over 20 feet deep, at least 200 feet wide, and over 500 feet from shore. The wakesports zone has been established to address concerns that wakeboats erode vulnerable shoreline when the distance to shore is not adequate to dissipate the wakes and stir up lake bottom sediments in shallower waters.

Under the new rule, wakesports can be operated on 30 of Vermont’s inland lakes. These lakes can accommodate a designated zone far enough from the shore and in deep enough waters, where there are fewer environmental impacts or recreational conflicts.

“The wakeboat rule – developed with significant input from the Vermont public – is science-based and reflective of Vermonters’ shared interests in environmental stewardship and outdoor recreation,” said DEC Commissioner Jason Batchelder.

The rule requires all wakeboats to decontaminate or clean their ballast tanks when moving between lakes. Wakeboats are also required to follow the rules on how to operate a vessel as outlined under 23 V.S.A. § 3311.

In addition to the 30 inland lakes where wakesports may occur, wakesports may also occur on Lake Champlain, Lake Memphremagog, the Connecticut River reservoirs, and Wallace Pond. These bodies of water do not have a defined wakesports zone.

A wakeboat is a motorboat that has one or more ballast tanks, ballast bags or other devices or design features used to increase the size of the motorboat’s wake. Wakesports include using “a surfboard, wakeboard, hydrofoil, or similar device to ride on or in the wake.”

Learn more about the new wakeboat regulation online. 

The Vermont State Police (VSP) and the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department (VFWD) 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.

For enforcement concerns, please 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

For wakeboat rule questions, please contact Laura Dlugolecki with the DEC Lakes and Ponds Program at 802-490-6133 or