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From the Three Rivers in the west to the tidal waters of the Delaware River in the east, from Lake Erie in the northwest to the Schuykill River in the southeast and the 76 natural and many more man-made lakes in between, boaters have endless miles of water to explore. Pennsylvania boating regulations are developed to ensure safe and enjoyable experiences for all recreating on PA's waters. 

Operator Responsibilities/Requirements:

Operator Dont's:

  • Operate a watercraft in a reckless, negligent, or dangerous manner.
  • Operate at a rate of speed that could endanger the life or property of any person.
  • Operate a boat at greater than slow, no-wake speed within 100 feet of the shoreline, docks, launch ramps, swimmers, or downed skiers, persons wading in the water, anchored, moored, or drifting boats, and floats. 
  • Operate a motorboat less than 20 feet long at greater than slow no-wake while a person is standing on or in the boat.
  • Operate a motorboat at greater than slow, no wake speed with riders outside of the passenger carrying area or on the bow decking, gunwales, transom, or motor covers.
  • Operate a pontoon boat with a rider outside the passenger carrying area.
  • Cause a boat to go airborne or to leave the water completely while crossing another boat’s wake when within 100 feet.
  • Weave through congested traffic.
  • Operate faster than slow, no-wake within 100 feet to the rear or 50 feet to the side of another boat that is underway, unless in a narrow channel.
  • Operate within 100 feet of anyone towed behind another boat.
  • Operate a motorboat with anyone sitting, riding, or hanging on a swim platform or swim ladder attached to the boat. 

Learn more about boating regulations including about waterways in Pennsylvania that have special regulations such as electric motors only or horsepower restrictions.

Remember, all powered boats must be registered