ANR’s First-in-the-Nation State-wide Wake Boat Rule Effective April 15

With little fanfare, the ANR’s new rule for managing wake boats on Vermont’s inland lakes and ponds quietly went into effect on April 15, 2024.  This followed a 7 to 1 vote in favor by the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (LCAR) at their February 14 meeting. The new rule includes three important changes described below:

  1. It defines a wake boat as a “motorboat that has one or more ballast tanks, ballast bags or other devices or design features used to increase the size of the motorboat’s wake.”
  2. It includes a “Home Lake Rule” provision, which states that during the summer boating season, wake boats must remain in the same lake (the designated home lake) unless decontaminated by an ANR-certified service provider. 
  3. It restricts wake sport activities on Vermont’s inland lakes and ponds to areas where:

• The water depth is at least 20 feet.

• The wake boat’s distance from shore is at least 500 feet; and

• The wake sport zone (determined by 1 and 2 above) is more than 50 acres. 

It is important to note that the implementation of the new rule in no way impacts normal, traditional motorized boat usage, including fishing, waterskiing, tubing, pontoon boating, etc. 

Now that the Responsible Wakes for Vermont Lakes (RWVL) petition has been acted on, the RWVL team has been working with interested lake associations in developing petitions to strengthen wake boat management rules on individual lakes (as allowed by DEC rulemaking). To date, five petitions representing six Vermont inland lakes have been filed. These may be found online at: Several additional petitions are being prepared. All the aforementioned petitions have been submitted by lakes where wake sports are permitted (a total of 30 lakes permit wake sports).

For those wishing to review the documents leading up to the adoption of the new DEC rule, the RWVL’s original March 2022 petition and the ANR responses from the formal/final review process have been posted on the “Use of Public Waters Decisions listed by Year website at:  Click on 2024 for the most important documents related this year’s new rule. 

Click here to see the video of LCAR’s ~20-minute discussion and final 7:1 vote approving ANR’s wake boating rule, i.e., from video start time 8:30 to end time 29:00).

For questions, comments, or help with your individual lake petition, contact RWVL at We are eager to provide this information.

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