Whether on the water for boating,
fishing, or watersports, or on
the land, exploring the shoreline
or living at water’s edge, everyone
who enjoys our nation’s
waterways, has same right to
enjoy the water as you do. As a
responsible boater, you should
always be mindful of others on or
near the water and the aquatic

A responsible boater is a courteous

Think of yourself as an aquatic
ambassador. Know the laws for
your area concerning navigable
waters and obey all posted signs
and markers. Show your respect
the environment and don’t litter.
All boaters, whether operating
motorized or non-motorized
craft, should wear a U.S. Coast-
Guard approved life jacket,
follow the boating “rules of the
road” and be aware of rules and
regulations for safety and navigation
on the water.

The type of activities you engage
in on the water also dictate some
of the actions you need to take.
Here are some ways to share the

Motorized Vessels
Maintain a safe speed and know
who has the right of way when
approaching other boats:

• Yield to non-motorized vessels
(canoes, kayaks, sailboats, rowboats
and paddleboards)
• When crossing paths, the
vessel on the right has the right
of way.
• In a head on approach neither
vessel has the right of way; both
should slow down and steer to
the right
• When passing, the vessel you
are passing has the right of way;
sound an alert by using one short
horn blast if passing on the right,
two if on the left

Be aware of your wake and slow
down when crossing wakes. Keep
a lookout for skiers, wakeboarders
and tubers. Try to stay at
least 150 feet from other vessels,
swimming areas, anglers, etc. If
you must pass closer, do so at a
no-wake speed.

Keep your engine well tuned
and within acceptable noise and
emission levels.

Give other anglers room to fish.
A good rule of thumb is to maintain
a two-cast distance. Check
to make sure the area is clear
before you cast and never fish in
swimming areas.

Properly dispose of used or tangled
fishing line and any entrails
from cleaning fish.

Non-Motorized Craft
Be aware of your surroundings.
Stay alert for other boat traffic,
both motorized and non-motorized
and consider the best way to
approach others on the water so
you don’t disturb them.

Respect the rights of anglers,
Give them plenty of room
and hold your position when
approaching an angler who has
hooked a fish.

Learn more about how to minimize
your impact on the environment
and responsible recreation
practices at TreadLightly.org.