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Wakeboating and Wakesports in Vermont

More Updates Coming Soon!

Beginning on April 15, 2024, a new rule under Vermont’s Use of Public Waters Rules takes effect that regulates wakeboating and wakesports on Vermont’s lakes. Vermont’s Use of Public Waters (UPW) Rules were developed to avoid and resolve recreational conflicts, to protect normal or designated uses on all lakes, ponds, and reservoirs, and to ensure that natural resource values of public waters are fully protected.

Topics on this page include:

What is the wakeboat rule and who does it apply to?

Where can wakesports occur (including a list of wakesports eligible lakes)?

Maps of Wakesports zones in eligible lakes

The "Home Lake Rule" and preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species

Enforcement of the wakeboat and wakesports rule

Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

The Rule Language

What is the wakeboat rule and who does it apply to?

Starting April 15, 2024, wakesports using a wakeboat shall only occur within defined wakesport zones. This rule only applies to those who operate a wakeboat in Vermont’s lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. The new rules were added under Section 3 of the Use of Public Waters Rules. .

As defined under the UPW Rules:

“Wakeboat” means 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” means:

A. to operate a wakeboat with ballast tanks, bags, or other devices or design features engaged to increase the size of the boat’s wake; or

B. to use a surfboard, wakeboard, hydrofoil, or similar device to ride on or in the wake:

i. directly behind a wakeboat without a rope; or

ii. directly behind a wakeboat with or without a rope, when the wakeboat has ballast tanks, bags, or other devices or design features engaged as described in Section A. above.

“Wakesports zone” means an area of a lake, pond, or reservoir that has a minimum of 50 contiguous acres that are at least 500 feet from shore on all sides, at least 20 feet deep, and at least 200 feet wide.

Wakesports zones are open to all uses permitted on the subject waterbody.

Where can wakesports occur?

Graphic of a lake showing location of a wakesports zone

Wakesports can only occur within the defined wakesports zones of the following bodies of water:

Sunset Lake in Benson​
Lake Morey in Fairlee
Shadow Lake in Glover​
Island Pond in Brighton​
Miles Pond in Concord​
Maidstone in Maidstone​
Lake Iroquois in Hinesburg/Williston​
Crystal Lake in Barton​
Lake Parker in West Glover​
Salem Lake in Derby​
Holland Pond in Holland​
Lake Caspian in Greensboro​
Peacham Pond in Peacham​
Great Averill Pond in Averill/Norton​
Harveys Lake in Barnet​
Waterbury Reservoir in Waterbury​
Mollys Falls in Cabot/Marshfield​
Lake St. Catherine in Poultney/Wells​
Joes Pond in Danville​
Lake Dunmore in Salisbury/Leicester​
Lake Fairlee in Fairlee​
Lake Carmi in Franklin​
Fairfield Pond in Fairfield​
Lake Willoughby in Westmore​
Little Averill in Averill​
Seymour Lake in Morgan​
Lake Hortonia in Sudbury/Hubbardton​
Harriman Reservoir in Whitingham​
Echo Lake in Charleston
Lake Bomoseen in Castleton/Hubbardton​​
Wakesports can also occur within Lake Champlain, Lake Memphremagog, the Connecticut River reservoirs, and Wallace Pond. These bodies of water do not have a defined wakesports zone.
All wakeboats on all waterbodies are required to follow the rules on how to operate a vessel as identified under 23 V.S.A. § 3311.

Where can I find the boundaries of a wakesports zone?

Wakesports zone map data is available on the VT ANR Open Data Group
Download wakesport zone maps for free in the Avenza app to use GPS-enabled maps offline

The Home Lake Rule and preventing the spread of aquatic nuisance species

A wakeboat must have one Home Lake for a given calendar year and display on the wakeboat’s port side bow a current Vermont Agency of Natural Resources issued decal identifying the wakeboat’s Home Lake for the calendar year. A wakeboat’s Home Lake is the only lake, pond, or reservoir at which that wakeboat will be used for the calendar year.
However, a wakeboat can be used in a body of water other than the identified Home Lake only after that wakeboat has been properly decontaminated to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Prior to entering a Vermont waterbody other than the wakeboat’s Home Lake, and prior to reentering the waters of the Home Lake after use of the wakeboat at any other waterbody, the wakeboat must be decontaminated at a Vermont Agency of Natural Resources approved decontamination service provider. A wakeboat user may be requested to provide proof of decontamination at public access areas.
The Home Lake Rule applies to all wakeboats on Lake Champlain, Lake Memphremagog, Wallace Pond, the Connecticut River Reservoirs, and the waterbodies with a defined wakesports zone as listed above (see also Appendix E of the UPW Rules).
In addition, all wakeboats must follow all aquatic nuisance species spread prevention laws (10 V.S.A. § 1454). Wakeboat users shall drain the ballast tanks of their boats to the fullest extent practicable after leaving a body of water.
While the wakeboat rule is in effect for the 2024 boating season, the Agency of Natural Resources is currently developing the materials and processes for implementing the Home Lake Rule. Please check back for updates on how to follow the Home Lake Rule.
 

Enforcement of the wakeboat rule

The Use of Public Waters rules are enforced by The Vermont State Police, Marine Division. Issues or concerns relating to violations of these rules should be reported to the Vermont police.  You may also contact the local game warden, as they partner with the police on these issues. Game wardens and police suggest documenting and reporting suspected violations of the UPW rules with video and photos, registration numbers of boats, a description of the activity in conflict with the UPW rules, and the date and time.

Resources:

COMING SOON

Wakesports zone maps

Map of Decontamination Stations and Greeter Stations 

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

COMING SOON

 

 

 

The Wakeboat Rule: 

The Use of Public Waters Rules were amended to add the following requirements for wakeboating and wakesports. The new rules were added under Section 3 of the Use of Public Waters Rules: 

3.8 Wakesports  

a. Wakesports are prohibited on lakes, ponds, and reservoirs that do not have a defined wakesports zone as defined at Section 5.18 and listed in Appendix E.  

b. Wakesports shall not take place outside the boundaries of a wakesports zone listed in 10 Appendix E. 

c. A wakeboat must have one home lake for a given calendar year and display on the wakeboat’s port side bow a current Agency-issued decal identifying the wakeboat’s home lake for the calendar year. A wakeboat’s home lake is the only lake, pond, or reservoir at which that wakeboat will be used for the calendar year, except when the decontamination requirement of Section 3.8.d. has been satisfied. This subsection 3.8.c. applies to Lake Champlain, Lake Memphremagog, Wallace Pond, the Connecticut River Reservoirs, and the waterbodies with a defined wakesports zone listed in Appendix E.  

d. Prior to entering a Vermont waterbody other than the wakeboat’s home lake, and prior to reentering the waters of the home lake after use of the wakeboat at any other waterbody, the wakeboat must be decontaminated at an Agency-approved decontamination service provider. 1 A wakeboat user may be requested to provide proof of decontamination at public access areas. This subsection 3.8.d. applies to Lake Champlain, Lake Memphremagog, Wallace Pond, the Connecticut River Reservoirs, and the waterbodies with a defined wakesports zone listed in Appendix E.  

e. All provisions of 10 V.S.A. § 1454 regarding aquatic nuisance species inspection apply to wakeboats, and wakeboat users shall drain the ballast tanks of their boats to the fullest extent practicable after leaving waters of the state. This subsection 3.8.e. applies to Lake Champlain, Lake Memphremagog, Wallace Pond, the Connecticut River Reservoirs, and the waterbodies with a defined wakesports zone listed in Appendix E.  

f. The above prohibition on wakesports (subsection 3.8.a.) may be modified on a case-by-case basis in response to petitions filed pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 1424.