BOATING & RECREATION
NH BOATING LAW
Boating activity on Laurel Lake is governed by the laws of the state of New Hampshire. The following is a list of significant laws that must be observed. A full listing of NH boating laws and regulations is available here. More information may be found in the NH Boater's Guide.
- All motorized vessels of any size must be registered, in addition to sailboats and sailboards 12 feet or longer. Every New
Hampshire registered boat must display a bow number and current registration decal. More information about boat registration
can be found at https://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/dmv/registration/boat.htm.
- Minimum age for operation of a boat with power in excess of 25 Horsepower is 16 years unless accompanied by a responsible adult.
- No person may operate a boat or water ski while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 60% of recent boating fatalities in N.H.
were alcohol-related. Don’t drink and boat—the .08 law applies to boaters, too!
- The operator of a boat is responsible for safe and lawful operation of the boat.
- Operators are responsible for damage resulting from their boats’ wake.
Speed & Towing
- All non-power boats have the right of way over power boats.
- No person shall operate a power boat at a speed in excess of 40 mph at any time.
- Power boats are restricted to headway speed (6 mph) within 150 ft. of another boat, any raft, float, buoy, or shore.
- Water Skiing – Water skiers must wear approved PFD. No boat shall tow more than two persons at a time regardless of the device(s).
being towed. The boat operator is required to have a responsible observer, at least 13 years of age, for each person being towed.
- Vessels should not be operated, and skiers should not pass, within 150 ft. of a diver’s flag (red flag with white stripe).
Equipment & General Boating
- Boating accidents involving injury or damage over $500 must be reported.
- Navigational lights (bow & stern) as prescribed by state law are required by any vessel when operating between sunset and sunrise,
or during daylight when visibility is poor.
- All boats must have a Coast Guard Approved Personal Flotation Device (PFD) for each person on board. Each PFD must be in
serviceable condition, readily accessible and of appropriate size. Boats over 16 ft. must also have at least one throwable PFD.
- Never grasp or tie up to markers or buoys.
LAUREL LAKE BOATING RULES
In addition to the laws of the state of New Hampshire which cover all bodies of water, the Laurel Lake Association has established the following local rules specific to Laurel Lake for its protection and safety.
- The maximum speed of operation for any vessel on Laurel Lake is 40 mph.
- Boats operating above headway speed must travel in a counter clock-wise direction around the lake.
- No vessels should operate above headway speed (6 mph) between sunset and 8:00 a.m.
- Swimmers, floats, rafts, tubes, etc. may not be more than 75 ft. from shore or a designated swimming area unless accompanied by
- Skicraft (aka "jet ski") are not allowed on Laurel Lake per NH RSA 270:74
- Boats and trailers must be cleaned of all vegetation before entering or leaving the lake.
- Buoys on Laurel Lake mark rocks and shallow areas. Be aware of all buoys when operating a boat on the lake.
- Persons observing violations of any of the above should report them to the Marine Patrol at (603)293-2037
- Headway Speed - The slowest speed that a boat can be operated and maintain steerage way, not to exceed 6 miles per hour.
- Water Skiing - A person being towed behind a moving motorboat on skis or on aquatic equipment designed for towing an
aquaplane or any other device, including bare feet of a person, but excluding a person being towed in another boat or motorboat.
- A Skicraft is defined as less than 13' in length as manufactured, capable of exceeding 20 mph, and has the capacity to carry not more
than the operator and one other person. There are additional regulations that ski craft operators must follow.
- A Personal Watercraft (PWC) has the capacity to carry more than the operator and one passenger and must follow the regulations set
forth for a motor boat including boat registration.
PLEASE DON'T HARASS LOONS OR OTHER LAKE WILDLIFE.
ALL WILDLIFE ARE PROTECTED ON NH WATERS AND ARE
SUBJECT TO STRICT STATE REGULATIONS.
LAUREL LAKE FISHING
Fishing is a popular recreational activity on Laurel Lake. The lake contains rainbow and brown trout, small and large mouth bass, as well as perch and a variety of other pan fish.
Laurel Lake depth/contour map is available here.
Fish Lead Free NH - Please remember that the use and sale of lead fishing sinkers and jigs weighing 1oz. or less is prohibited by law in NH.
NH fishing license information, fish identification charts, and
other important fish & game information are available here.
A useful US Fish & Wildlife Service freshwater fish identification chart is available here.
NH Fish & Game Department in Keene 603.352.9669.
With proper ice safety, there is great enjoyment to be had on our frozen lake.
Generally, solid, clear ice of 5 to 6 inches is safe for small groups and ice thickness of 8 inches or more is good for large groups.
Learn more about NH ice safety here.