Office of Communications

Courtesy on the Water

Boats on the bay... The Chesapeake Bay is home to an array of boats and boaters. There are approximately 212,000 registered boats in the State which means everyone needs to be aware of their actions out on the water. With this in mind, the Natural Resources Police, would like to remind all boaters the importance of...WATCHING YOUR WAKE!

The definition of a boat wake is the wave of water resulting from the passage of the boat's hull through the water. This wave of water, depending on the size and speed of the vessel, can be very large, and may cause problems in a variety of situations.

  • Vessels in a marina may be susceptible to damage caused by excessive wakes. Sailboats in adjacent slips may be rocked by a wake causing their masts to collide or become entangled in the shrouds.
  • People on board their vessels may be knocked down or possibly knocked overboard as a result of an unexpected wake. Schooner under the sail...
  • Shoreline erosion may be caused by excessive wake from boats traveling too close to shore. This could be a concern for the environment as well as for property owners.
  • Operate in the channel as much as possible. A little less speed may make a world of difference to other boaters and local residents.

    YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR WAKE and we urge you to exercise courtesy and common sense.
Be especially cautious of smaller vessels such as kayaks which may be less stable and have a tendency to tip due to 
large wakes.

RESPONSIBLE BOATING

  • When overtaking a slower vessel in open water, do so with as much room as depth conditions allow and slow your speed.
  • Be especially cautious of smaller vessels such as canoes or kayaks which may be less stable.
  • You are responsible for the safety of your passengers, your boat and any damage to other boats and personal property. Be especially cautious of smaller vessels such as canoes which may be less stable and have a tendency to tip due to large wakes.
  • Avoid creating an excessive wake in narrow confined areas.
  • Operate slowly at all times when in the vicinity of marinas and launch ramps.


See the Boating Safety Class Listings

Chesapeake Bay Hotline

Call 1-877-224-7229

to report any of the following

  • Boating accident or reckless activity
  • Fish kill or algal bloom
  • Floating debris that poses a hazard to navigation
  • Illegal fishing activity
  • Public sewer leak or overflow
  • Oil or hazardous material spill
  • Critical area or wetlands violation
  • Suspicious or unusual activity