Rules for Safety

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The Water Patrol is responsible for educating citizens on the responsible use of boats and other equipment on the lakes and for ensuring safety through effective law enforcement. Boaters must yield the right of way to a patrol boat and should reduce speed to no wake. “NO WAKE” means the speed at which a boat moves as slowly as possible while still maintaining steerage control. Boaters must stop immediately when signaled by a Patrol Officer and/or a blue flashing light. To aid the Water Patrol in emergencies, ftre numbers should be put on ends of piers to identify one’s property.

Boat Registration

All power boats, including those with electric trolling motors and those moored in Wisconsin 60 consecutive days, and sailboats over 12′ in length must be registered. Valid registration numbers and decals must be displayed. Wisconsin registrations are for three-year periods and expire March 31 of the year shown on the decal.

Personal Floatation Device (PFD)/Life Jacket

It is unlawful to operate any boat unless one of the following PFD’s of the proper size is available for each person on board:

  • Type I Offshore Life Jacket is designed to turn most unconscious wearers face-up in the water and should be worn in rough open water.
  • Type II Near-Shore Buoyant Vest, horse-collar bib, is designed for calm, inland water where quick rescue is possible.
  • Type III Flotation Aid Nest is designed for water sport activities such as water-skiing, windsurfIng, wake¬≠boarding, riding personal watercraft (PWC) and ftshing. Type II or III should be worn by children and non¬≠swimmers when underway on the Chain.
  • Type IV Throwable is a buoyant boat cushion or life ring. Each boat 16 feet or longer, except canoes and kayaks unless motorized, must have at least one Type IV Throwable that is readily accessible.
  • Type V Special Use Device or Hybrid Inflatable is legal only if inflated and requires regular maintenance. It is not recommended for children or non-swimmers or for use in water sport activities.

Navigation Lights

Navigation lights must be on from sunset to sunrise and during periods of restricted visibility when under way. A center combination light or side lights on the bow must shine red to port (left) and green to starboard (right). A white stern light must shine 360 degrees. Non-motorized boats must have a white lantern or flashlight that must be shown in time to avoid collision.

Right of Way Designations

Obey the rules of the road. When two motorboats are directly approaching each other, each boat shall bear to the right and pass the other boat on its left side. When two motorboats are approaching each other at angles or in a crossing situation, the boat on the right has the right of way. A boat granted the right of way shall maintain its course and speed, unless to do so would result in a collision. A boat may overtake and pass another boat on either side, but the overtaking boat shall yield the. right of way to the boat being overtaken if necessary. Motor boats shall yield the right of way to sailboats, canoes, rowboats, or any other type of non-motorized equipment.