There is nothing better than a beautiful day out on the lake surrounded by friends and family on the boat. Boats are great and we are lucky to have access to boats as easily as we do here in Lake Norman, but we want you and your family to ensure safe practices as you sail or swim the open waters. The number of options is limitless here in Lake Norman now all we need is safe practices out on the lake.

Lake Norman Marine Coalition

 The waters of Lake Norman are regulated by the statutes of several different organizations including the Lake Norman Marine Coalition. They have the mission of spreading safe practices across the lake and to be used as a resource of information on the lake of different laws, rules, and regulations that need to be followed on the lake.

The North Carolina 1969 State Statute made the LKNMC responsible for the lake, shoreline, and anything revolving around water recreation. In keeping these duties assigned to them the LKNMC promotes boater education, maintains the Navigational Marker System, works with Duke Power on Lake Development, manages a long-range Aquatic Plant Management Plan, and works with local governments and other organizations to address important lake issues

Carefree Boat Club

We are fortunate to have several great and responsible boat rental companies in the area who want to ensure your safety. Several companies on the lake take a big step by following the policies put forward by the Lake Norman Marine Coalition and the Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation Department. Some companies that hold themselves to the standard of maintaining safe procedures approved by the LKNMC include but are not limited to Carolina Cruising Charters, Cornelius Pontoon Rentals, and Party Pontoon.

Swimming in lake with life jacket

boat on lake

Laws and Regulations    

Following rules and regulations out on the lake is key to maintaining a safe environment for yourself and others. The Lake Norman Marine Coalition as well as the Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation are key in regulating the lake for our safety. Some of these laws that you can hold yourself and others accountable for include:

  • Anyone under 13 must wear a Personal Flotation Device in a boat
  • All of Lake Norman has a no-wake zone within 150 feet of any dock, bridge, marina, or boat ramp, and within 100 feet of a law enforcement vessel
  • No littering on the lake
  • No boating while impaired 

There are some more laws that need more attention and are more detail-oriented that boaters must still pay attention to. These include:

  • It is illegal to be in possession of Sterile Grass Carp
  • One or two boats may be anchored within 100 yards of the shoreline, but must be at least 50 yards from any other vessel or group of vessels tied together.
  •  If you are operating your vessel at night, you must display your bow and stern lights. 

Personal Watercraft

North Carolina law defines a Personal Watercraft (PWC) as “A small vessel which uses an outboard motor or propeller-driven motor, or an inboard motor powering a water jet pump, as its primary source of motive power and which is designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing, or kneeling on, or being towed behind the vessel, rather than in the conventional manner of sitting or standing inside the vessel”. When operating a Personal Watercraft, there are a few important laws to follow:

  • The operator of a PWC may not be under the age of 14
  • If the operator of a PWC is under the age of 16, they must have certification or be accompanied on board by someone who is at least 18 years old and in compliance with the requirements of operating a vessel.
  • After sunset, a PWC cannot be operated until sunrise
  • Any driver, passenger, or person being towed by a PWC must wear a personal flotation device 

Boats at Carefree Boat Club

Jumping into the lake


Required Equipment

When it comes to taking your boat out on the lake or getting a rental from a company, it is important to double-check and make sure all proper equipment is there to stay safe as well as obey the law. You never know what will happen on board, so it is important to have the following items:

  • A wearable personal flotation device for everyone on board 
  • An appropriate-sized fire extinguisher on board the boat
  • A whistle or some sort of noise-making device. 

Lake Norman Boating

Lake Norman is a special place. There is a reason that the population is rapidly increasing and everyone wants to come see what it's all about and spend time out on the water. It is important that everyone enjoys their time on the lake safely, conducts safe practices, and obeys local and state law. Be sure to check out our “Boat and Jet Ski Rentals” page for information on our local rental companies and ask them if they are following LKNMC and MCPRD guidelines for their rentals to ensure a safe and fun day out on the lake.