Boating Rules & Regulations

During the summer, residents and guests on Lake Winona can enjoy excellent fishing, water skiing, sailing, and kayaking. If we use caution and consideration and follow the laws of the water, we can ensure everyone’s safety and enjoy our individual activities in harmony with each other. The Marine Patrol Officers who patrol the lake are there to ensure safe enjoyment of the lake. Below are a few of the most important rules to observe.

Boat Operation
A vessel powered by more than 25 horsepower (other than a “ski craft”) may be operated by:

  • A person under 16 years of age only if he or she is accompanied by a person 18 years old or older who has a valid Safe Boater Education Certificate.
  • A person 16 years of age or older only if he or she has obtained a Safe Boater Education Certificate as required by the “Schedule for Required Safe Boater Education.”

Ski Craft Operation
Ski Craft operation is prohibited on Winona Lake. “Ski craft” is defined by law as any motorized vessel that is less than 13 feet in length, is capable of exceeding 20 miles per hour, and has the capacity to carry no more than an operator and one other person.

Safe Boater Education Certification
Effective January 1, 2007, persons can apply for a Safe Boater Education Certificate only by successfully passing one of the following:

  • A proctored examination administered as part of a classroom boating safety course approved by the New Hampshire Marine Patrol
  • A proctored equivalency examination approved by the New Hampshire Marine Patrol
  • A National Association of State Boating Law Administrators–approved course and examination from another state

A vessel powered by 25 horsepower or less does not require the operator to have a Safe Boater Education Certificate.

Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
No personal operating or in control of a boat or vessel upon the public waters of the state shall transport a child twelve years of age or younger unless said child is wearing a U.S. Coast Guard Approved PFD.

Safe Passage Law
When passing within 150 feet of another boat, swimmer, raft, shore, dock or mooring field, you must be at headway speed. Headway speed is the slowest speed at which a boat can be operated and maintain steerage and must not exceed six miles per hour. Headway speed is often referred to as “wake speed,” indicating a slow enough speed that no appreciable wake is created. This is especially important when passing close to shore or through narrow passages where a wake could damage moored boats or erode shorelines. .

Responsibilities between Vessels
When a vessel is required to keep out of the way of another, it shall, if necessary, slacken its speed, stop, or reverse, and avoid crossing ahead of any other vessel.

If operating a power-driven vessel, you must give way to:

  • Any vessel not under command, such as an anchored or disabled vessel
  • Any vessel restricted in its ability to maneuver, such as a vessel towing, laying cable, or picking up navigation markers, or a vessel constrained by its draft such as a large ship in a channel
  • A sailing vessel unless it is overtaking

If operating a sailing vessel, you must give way to:

  • Any vessel not under command
  • Any vessel restricted in its ability to maneuver

Canoes, rowboats and sailboats shall be given the right-of-way. This requirement shall not be construed to allow deliberate impediment of motorboats by canoes, rowboats or sailboats.


  • No boat shall tow more than two persons at the same time regardless of the device(s) being towed.
  • There shall be at least one observer for each person being towed. Observers must be at least 13 years of age.
  • All water skiers must wear approved PFDs.
  • Persons may be towed behind a vessel on water skis or any other device during daylight hours (sunrise to sunset) only.

For a complete list of New Hampshire boating laws, please visit