Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to the most commonly asked questions by our visitors!


Q: How big is Lake Norman?
A: Lake Norman is 34 miles long, covers 32,750 acres with a shoreline of 520 miles extending over Mecklenburg, Iredell, Catawba, and Lincoln.
• The average depth is 25 feet with deepest point being over 110 feet 
• The annual draw-down of the lake starts in September at 98% full pond and ends in February at 92% full pond for snow run-off and rains
• Maximum draw-down is 15 feet

Q: Why was Lake Norman created?
A: Completed in the 1960's, Lake Norman is the largest of 11 reservoirs in the Catawba River built by Duke Power to supply energy to new industries in the growing region. It was named for Norman Atwater Cocke, a longtime Duke Power company president.Lake Norman is host to three power stations: Cowans Ford Hydroelectric Station, Marshall Steam Plant - Duke Power's second largest coal-burning plant, and McGuire Nuclear Station.

Q: Where can you stay directly on the lake?
A: Our area has several brand-name hotels to meet your needs, while none of our area hotels are directly on the water, they are located along I-77, and most are 5-10 minutes from the water.

Q: Where can you swim on Lake Norman?
A: One public access is at Ramsey Creek Park.

The park offers an enclosed dog park, fishing pier and boat doc, picnic shelters, playground, volleyball court and swimming beach.

A: The second is located at the Lake Norman State Park located at exit 42 off I-77. Call for hours and fees.
Lake Norman State Park
159 Inland Sea Lane, Troutman, NC 28166
Phone: 704-528-6350 Fax: 704-528-5263

QWhat are the waterfront parks?
A: There are four parks with access to Lake Norman. Three of them are Mecklenburg County Parks: Jetton Park, Ramsey Creek Park, and Blythe Landing off I-77, exit 28-Cornelius.

Q: Can I bring my pet?
A: Yes, click here for a list of Pet Friendly Hotels, Pet Services, Pet Daycare and Dog Parks.

Q: Where can I get a NC fishing license?
: Can be purchased online at or in person at West Marine, Wal-Mart, Dick's Sporting Goods, or local tackle shops.

QWhere can I get information on rules, regulations, and building permits on and around Lake Norman?

A: Dock & Building Permits: Duke Energy Lake Management (does not regulate dock or building permits) Uninhabited lake islands only. 1-800-443-5193.

  • Property in Mecklenburg County - Permitting Center Dial 311 (from telephone land-line in county)
  • Property in Iredell County - Permitting Center 704-878-3113
  • Property in Lincoln County - Permitting Center 704-736-8724
  • Property in Catawba County - Permitting Center

Lake Norman Marine Commission - 704-372-2416
Lake Levels - 1-800-829-LAKE

QAre there campgrounds around Lake Norman?

A: Yes, read our blog on nearby campgrounds. 

Coast Guard Information

QWho helps regulate safe boating on Lake Norman?
A: The Coast Guard Auxiliary assists the local law enforcement, fire departments, and rescue groups, providing safety patrols, Search and Rescue, and crowd management at events and during the week. Also assist stranded boaters in getting to the closest safe harbor, and advising boaters of safety violations. Go to for more information.

  • Safe Boating Classes/Vessel Inspections - Coast Guard Auxiliary (17-06 & 17-08) 704-663-8333 or
  • Lake Norman Power Squadron -
  • Boater Safety Classes - The Auxiliary offers Boater Safety Classes to the public. With the new laws coming into affect in 2010 boaters under 26yrs are required to attend a Boater Safety Class in order to drive a boat or jet ski on Lake Norman.
  • Marina Visits - The Auxiliary works closely with Marinas to help them make sure their boats have all the correct documentation and safety equipment on them to operate on Lake Norman. Also does safety checks for the marina on pollution and hazardous waste.
  • Vessel Exams - Provides the public with FREE vessel exams. This is a pass or fail exam, and there are no FINES involved. We do this to make sure boaters can go out on the lake and know what equipment and statutes they need to follow. Upon passing the exam, we give the boater a VSD (Vessel Safety Decal) this decal tells other out there that the boat has been inspected and passed all safety requirements for Lake Norman. VE Days are held upon request (usually 2-3 per year) at most of the marinas, water front restaurants, and landings on Lake Norman.