Rules of the Water: Boat season is here, do you know the rules?

- A variety of vessels set sail on Lake Norman this Memorial Day for the unofficial start of the summer boating seasons.

But with the escalated number of people at the lake, comes an escalated police presence on the water. Cornelius Police, working with the Cornelius Fire Department have increased their presence on the water to keep boaters, swimmers and others safe.

Cornelius police over about 80 miles on shoreline of the 520 miles on Lake Norman. That means boaters have an obligation to keep people in the boat, and those around them, safe. 

"I think there are a lot of rules people either don't know ir don't follow. We see a lot of children under 13-years-old not wearing a life jacket."

No wake zone violations and following too closely are common rules authorities have seen broken in the past.

Police want boaters to remain on high alert. Bottom line: don't drink and drive and always wear a life jacket.

Related: Parents of teen killed by drunk boater speak about first summer with Sheyenne’s Law in effect


  • Every boat operator has the obligation to take whatever action is necessary to avoid an accident.
  • File a Float Plan: Document essential information or fill out a form about your excursion and leave it with a reliable person who can be depended upon to notify the U.S. Coast Guard or another rescue organization, should you not return as scheduled.  (Do not file float plan with the USCG.)
  • Navigation Aids and Regulatory Markers: (Reference PDF Vessel Operator's Guide page 17-19)
  • Passing:  When one vessel overtakes another going in the same direction, the craft being overtaken must maintain course and speed, and the passing vessel must keep a sufficient distance to avoid collision or endangering the other craft from its wake.
  • Report Boating Accidents: Boating accidents that occur on public waters must be reported to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (24-hour toll free at 800-662-7137) when any one of the following occur:


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