Pawtuckaway Lake is a wonderful place to explore in a kayak, canoe, or paddle board. There are many coves and islands that are inaccessible to power boats, and glacial erratic boulders are strewn about the lake bottom, making it hazardous to operate propellers in some spots.
Boating opportunities still abound for those alert to navigational markers and familiar with the lake’s terrain, though. It is important that boaters respect the rules and each other while enjoying this recreational activity, for the safety of everyone and the health of the lake.
New Hampshire has a mandatory boating education law. Everyone 16 years of age and older who operates a motorboat over 25 horsepower on New Hampshire waters must have a boating education certificate. To learn about compliance with this law, go to: https://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/nhsp/fob/marine-patrol/boating-education/. You may also consult our Resource Guide on this website for a general summary of boating safety rules.
Effective January 1, 2017, two important new laws went into effect in New Hampshire to prevent additional aquatic invasive species infestations (RSA 487:16-c and 487:16-d). Specifically, the laws prohibit the transport of any aquatic plants on recreational gear and related trailers and require that boats and other water-containing devices be in the open-drain position during transportation. Violators could face fines ranging from $50 – $200. These laws are enforced by the New Hampshire Marine Patrol, conservation officers, and other peace officers.
Some areas on Pawtuckaway are so shallow that boats may only travel over them at “headway” speed (6 mph), to avoid churning up the lake bottom, disturbing nutrients in the sediment, and mixing them with upper water levels, not to mention uprooting plants and eroding the shoreline. These areas of the lake are known as “No Wake” zones, because to navigate at headway speed means to create no wake behind the boat. Here is a map showing the “No Wake” zones in Pawtuckaway Lake, which include the entire Fundy, both North and South Channels, and all coves:NH Marine Patrol Unit: Restricted Bodies of Water
SAF-C 402.60 – No person shall operate a motorboat at a speed exceeding 6 MPH on that portion of Pawtuckaway Lake known as the Bay of Fundy.
Observing these boating rules is not just a matter of courtesy. The NH Marine Patrol regularly visits Pawtuckaway and is ready to enforce all boating laws on the spot! In addition, New Hampshire has strict laws that are aggressively enforced prohibiting the operation of a boat while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances. Don’t take any chances!