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Boating Regulations

Motorboats, PWSC's (ie. Jet ski's) and unmotorized boats (ie. sailboats, canoes, etc) are welcomed on Lake Gaston. Because the lake includes water in both Virginia and North Carolina, the rules vary slightly. However, each state honors the boating and fishing regulations from the other state.

Regulations

North Carolina boating is regulated by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. Virginia boating is regulated by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. There are a number of regulations regarding life jackets, hull-numbers, registration, boating courses, safety equipment, lighting, alcohol and other things. If you are not familiar with Virginia and North Carolina boating laws, you would wise to read up. Lake Gaston is regularly patrolled and boats are sometimes stopped.

Required Boating Courses

Both Virginia and North Carolina have requirements that boaters (for motor boats with engines of 10hp or more) and users of PWC's (Jet Skis, etc) complete 'Safe Boating Courses.'

In Virginia, as of July 2015, all PWC operators, regardless of age, and motorboat operators 50 years of age or younger must have completed the "safe boating" course and have proof with them. By July 2016, all motoboat operators and all jet-ski operators must have completed the course.

In North Carolina, the requirement for the "safe boating" course for boat operators applies to anyone born after January 1, 1988 and all PWC operators. If you are visiting North Carolina, you must abide by the requirements of the state where you live.

Both states have an index of both seated and on-line courses by location. For North Carolina courses, click here. Virginia courses, here.