Who Enforces Boating Laws?
Wisconsin DNR officers and all other peace officers enforce the boating laws of Wisconsin. USCG officers also patrol and have enforcement authority on federally controlled waters.
- Officers have the right to stop and board vessels in order to check for compliance with state and federal laws.
- It is illegal to refuse to follow the directive of a person with law enforcement authority. An operator who has received a visual or audible signal from a law enforcement officer must must reduce speed to “slow, no wake speed” and give way to the patrol boat.
- A vessel operator must stop when requested or signaled to do so by a law enforcement officer or a patrol boat.
- In addition to yielding and stopping for a law enforcement patrol boat when signaled to do so, it is required that you reduce speed to “slow, no wake speed” and stay at least 100 feet from a law enforcement patrol boat with its emergency lights activated when it is contacting another boat on the water. You create a safe environment for law enforcement officers and the boat occupants they are contacting when you do so.