You are here:   Home » News » News Releases » Education » FWP Reminds Boaters Of Boating Rules

FWP Reminds Boaters Of Boating Rules


Fri May 31 00:00:00 MDT 2002

"No-wake" boating rules are in place on a number of waters around the state. No wake speed is defined as a speed where there is no "white" water in the track or path of the vessel or in waves immediately near the vessel.

Boating rules on all western Montana public lakes and reservoirs (any lake with legal public access) and lakes surrounded by Plum Creek Timber Company lands in western Montana (FWP Regions 1 and 2) include:

  • No-Wake Distance From Shore: All watercraft must maintain no-wake speeds within 200 feet of the shoreline of all lakes.
  • No-Wake On Lakes Less Than 35 Acres: All watercraft must maintain no-wake speeds on all lakes 35 acres or less.
  • Exceptions include: a few older-style personal watercraft which must maintain a certain minimum operating speed to stay upright and motorized watercraft towing a water skier from or to dock or the shore. Both must travel the most direct route through the no-wake zone.

    Lakes greater than 35 acres located within the Thompson Chain of Lakes are excluded from the rule on no-wake speeds within 200 feet from shore. Wake rules on these lakes were set earlier by the Commission in a public process specifically related to the Thompson Chain of Lakes.

    No-wake zones near new boating developments on Hauser Reservoir near Helena are also in effect. All watercraft must maintain no-wake speeds within 100 feet of the docks or as buoyed at Devil's Elbow and 300 feet from shore or as buoyed at Clark's Bay, which was formerly a Lewis and Clark County Recreation site. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management recently developed these sites and requested no-wake zones to ensure public safety in and around dock areas.

    Other areas previously covered under no-wake rules are: York Bridge Fishing Access Site; Lakeside Marina, within 300 feet of the docks; and Spokane Creek Bay, within 500 feet from the mouth of the bay.

    No-wake restrictions are in effect on the Tongue River and Tongue River Reservoir for motorized watercraft, including jet skis or personal watercraft. A 300-foot-wide no-wake zone extends around three-quarters of the shoreline on the northeast and west sides of the reservoir. Also, no-wake restrictions apply to five bays: Rattlesnake Point, Camper Point, Pee Wee Point, Cormorant Bay and the cabin site area on Corral Creek. The Tongue River from the Wyoming state line to the reservoir is a no-wake stretch of the river.