Boating in NH

NH Dept. of Safety - February 26, 2009

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Gilford, NH - Boating speed limits on Lake Winnipesaukee, the state's largest lake will be in place for the first time during the 2009 boating season. The speeds of 45 miles per hour in the daytime and 25 miles per hour at night were passed by the Legislature last year and took effect on Jan. 1, 2009.

"We hope the boating community will help embrace this new endeavor for added safety on the waters," said Sgt. Joshua Dirth of the NH Marine Patrol. "It is important for all boaters to understand the seriousness and potential repercussions of not adhering to this statute. Unlike most boating violations that do not affect their state motor vehicle record, a conviction under these provisions will be reported to the Division of Motor Vehicles and will become a part of their motor vehicle driving record."

The provisions of the new speed restrictions on Lake Winnipesaukee are spelled out in RSA 270-D:2 X and XI. The new speed limits include:

  • 25 miles per hour during the period from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise; AND
  • 45 miles per hour at any other time
  • No person shall operate a vessel at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the existing conditions and without regard for the actual and potential hazards then existing
  • In all cases, speed shall be controlled so the operator will be able to avoid endangering or colliding with any person, vessel, object, or shore

The speed of any vessel in excess of the limit specified in this subparagraph shall be prima facie evidence that the speed is not reasonable or prudent and that it is unlawful The NH Marine Patrol is posting signs to make boaters aware of the new law in high traffic areas around the Lakes Region, including public docks, public launch ramps, marinas, hotels and restaurants.

New Hampshire Boating Restrictions
For information regarding the rules and restrictions in the usage of jet skis and water planes, as well as speed limits, motor horsepower guidelines and rules, or waterskiing regulations, please visit the Division of Safety Services Marine Patrol Bureau of New Hampshire. This page gives you a lake by lake listing of restrictions and guidelines. Please note that this page, by its own admission, may not be a comprehensive listing of all lakes in the state.

New NH State Boating Law Effective January 1. 2017 

When transporting boats between waterbodies: ( NH RSA 487: 16-D ) 

All fragments of vegetation and animals must be removed before leaving the launch area. 

All drain plugs must be removed or in the open position when leaving the boat launch.

Aquatic invasive species decals required for out-of-state motorboats    Apply online 

NH Shoreland Protection Act view water quality  NH Lake Quality Guide

Jet Ski definition: The law states 13’ but we have found manufacturer certified skicraft under 13’ certified for 3 people. So we do not go by the size, only the manufacturers certification.  Anything that is certified for 3 or more, is considered a boat in the State of NH. 

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