It's the Law


In addition to the laws mentioned previously, here are some other Vermont regulations which apply when vessel operators are on the water.

Unlawful Operation


Vermont law states that these dangerous operating practices are illegal.

Careless and Reckless Operation of a vessel or the reckless manipulation of water skis, a surfboard, or a similar device is operating in a manner that causes danger to the life, limb, or property of any person. Examples of illegal, reckless operation are:

  • Boating in restricted areas without regard for other boaters or persons, posted speeds and wake restrictions, diver-down flags, etc.
  • Boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Failing to follow the navigation rules shown on Encountering Other Vessels and Navigation Rules
  • Weaving through congested waterway traffic
  • Swerving at the last possible moment in order to avoid collision
  • Causing danger or damage from the wake of your vessel
  • Chasing, harassing, or disturbing wildlife with your vessel

Overloading is loading the vessel beyond a safe carrying capacity, taking into consideration the weather and other operating conditions.

Improper Speed or Distance is not maintaining a proper speed or distance while operating a vessel or while towing a person on water skis or any similar device. Specifically, the following actions are illegal:

  • Operating a vessel (except sailboards) at greater than “no wake speed” within 200 feet of:
    • The shoreline
    • A person in the water
    • A canoe, rowboat, or other vessel
    • An anchored or moored vessel with a person on board
    • An anchorage or dock
  • Operating a vessel at speeds of five miles per hour or greater within 200 feet of a marked swimming area
  • Operating a vessel at speeds that may cause danger, injury, or damage. Be aware of and obey all regulatory markers, including areas marked as “no wake”

“No Wake Speed” means…

operating your vessel at a speed at which the vessel does not produce a wake, not to exceed five miles per hour.

Violating Underwater Historic Preservation Area Requirements is the failure to follow the requirements that govern operation in areas marked “State of Vermont Underwater Historic Preserve.” Vessels may not operate in these areas. Additional requirements also apply in these areas.

  • A vessel may secure to a yellow buoy (see U.S. Aids to Navigation System [ATON]) only if diving at the preserve. These vessels must be 35 feet in length or less and display a diver-down flag. No more than one vessel may moor to a yellow buoy.
  • When a vessel is secured to a yellow buoy, all other vessels must stay at least 200 feet from the buoy.
  • A vessel may not anchor within 200 feet of a yellow buoy.