Wake Responsibly

Law Enforcement Officers with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission enforce the boating laws and navigational rules in North Carolina's public waters to create a safe boating environment for everyone. Officers continually and proactively enforce laws and rules regarding authorized no-wake zones, as well as the reckless and negligent operation of any motorboat or vessel on these waters. 

Please follow these recommendations to "wake responsibly":

  • Stay at least 200 feet away from the shoreline, docks or other structures.
  • Keep music at reasonable levels. Sound travels well over water. If it is loud enough to hear at 80 feet back, it is likely loud enough for homeowners and other to hear as well.
  • Minimize repetitive passes on any one portion of the shoreline. Once you've run the same line for a while, move on to another area. 

Wake and Wake Boats

  • Wake boats are high-tech, specialized boats with ballasts that fill with water to adjust for the size of wake desired.
  • Wake boats can produce significant wake (3 - 4 feet) at low speeds (10 mph).
  • In general, the boats are not the problem, but rather the wake produced by the vessels.
  • While wake boats are designed to create significant wake, wake is not vessel specific.   
  • Wake is one of many factors that can cause erosion.
  • Erosion, dock/boat property damage and noise are the primary complaints associated with the use of wake boats.
  • Because the ballasts of wake boats fill with water, the transfer of aquatic nuisance species could be an issue.
  • Concerns about wake boats are a nationwide issue.


Noise Complaints: Local Sheriff’s Office or Police Department

Safety Concerns: WRC Law Enforcement Division (800-662-7137)

Erosion and Sediment Control: N.C. Division of Land Resources

N.C. Division of Soil & Water Conservation

Water Quality Concerns: N.C. Division of Water Resources

Boating Access Areas and No-Wake Zones Map