In general: The daytime speed limit on Caspian Lake is 40 miles per hour, and the nighttime limit is 10 miles per hour. Nighttime is defined as the period between one half hour after sunset and one half hour before sunrise.
Two hundred foot rule: With minor exceptions, all vessels must travel at no-wake speed and not over 5 miles per hour within 200 feet of the shoreline, of a person in the water, a canoe, rowboat or other vessel, a designated swim area, or any anchorage or dock.
Age Limit: No person under the age of 12 may operate a motorboat exceeding 6 horsepower.
Certificate of boating education: No person born after January 1, 1974, may operate a motorboat of six horsepower or greater without a certificate of boating education. This certificate is issued upon successful completion of the prescribed course in boating safety. The state recognizes similar certification from other states. The Greensboro Association offers boating safety courses leading to such certification. The certificate must be in your possession when operating a motorboat. For more information on course locations and dates, contact the Vermont State Police Marine Division.
Alcohol and Drugs: Operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is forbidden and is punishable by a fine and the suspension of boat operating privileges.
Residential Use: Sleeping overnight on a vessel is prohibited.
Life Preservers: All boats must have a wearable type PFD (personal flotation device) for each person on board or being towed. Each PFD must be in good condition and readily available, and the proper size for the intended wearer. In addition, boats 16 feet in length or longer must carry a type IV throwable device.
Lights: All vessels, including canoes, must carry and show lights when underway between sunset and sunrise. Motorboats must have red and green running lights forward and a white light visible from all directions aft. Manually propelled boats must carry a lantern which shall be displayed in sufficient time to prevent collision.
Water Skiing and “Jet Skis”
Water Skiing: A water skier must wear an approved personal flotation device. There must be an observer in the boat (in addition to the operator) who is at least 12 years old.
Ski slalom courses: There are rules governing the construction, location and use of ski slalom courses on Caspian Lake. These are set forth in the Vermont Boat Safety book on Operating Laws and Regulations. The use of any such course for purposes other than water skiing is prohibited.
Personal watercraft: Use of jet skis, personal watercraft or any other Class A vessel which uses an inboard engine powering a water jet pump as its primary source of motive power is prohibited.
Right of Way and Boat Handling:
Approaching other boats: When two boats are approaching head-on, each shall bear to the right leaving the other boat on the left side. At an angle, the boat on the right has right-of-way. Powerboats should yield the right-of-way to all canoes, rowboats, sailboats and windsurfers.
Managing boat wake: The wake from your boat must not endanger anyone else. Canoes and small boats are especially vulnerable to high-wake turbulence, and you are responsible for any act of yours which endangers or jeopardizes the safety, life or property of another person.
Overloading: Do not exceed the recommended number of people your boat is built to carry safely, as shown on the plate mounted on the transom.
Divers: Wholly submerged divers and snorklers must display a divers-down flag, which has a white diagonal stripe on a red background. No vessel, except a canoe or rowboat, may operate within 200 feet of a divers-down flag.
Fisherman: Be considerate of people fishing. Steer well clear of their lines, whether they are trolling or still fishing. Fisherman over 14 must have a Vermont fishing license.
Navigational Hazards: There are two submerged “islands” in the middle of Caspian Lake and many hidden rocks and shoals close to shores. Know their locations and avoid boat damage and personal injury by steering clear of these hazards.
Wildlife: Loons, ducks and other birds are especially sensitive to boat traffic. It is a punishable offense to kill or harass any water bird through the operation of a boat on any Vermont lake.
Littering: It is prohibited to throw refuse of any kind in the lake. Take all your trash away with you.
Noise: Sound travels much farther over water than over land, especially in calm weather and at night. Many people come to Caspian Lake to enjoy its quiet beauty and peaceful fishing, which are particularly outstanding during the early morning and evening hours. We suggest that all users of the lake respect this tranquility by limiting noise and boat speeds before 8:00 in the morning and after one half hour before sunset.
Sunday Concerts: During July and August, concerts are broadcasted every Sunday evening at the south end of the lake. It is requested that motorboats not operate in the area while concerts are in progress.
Aquatic Nuisance Species:
Eurasian Watermilfoil: This prolific aquatic plant found in Lake Champlain and many inland lakes in Vermont interferes with boating, fishing and swimming, and displaces native plants. It is easily spread when plant fragments are caught and moved on boat trailers, propellers, anchors and other equipment, or in live wells.
Zebra Mussel: These are tiny D shaped mollusks that are well established in Lake Champlain. They clog water intake pipes, damage boat engines, obscure historic shipwrecks, and alter native species populations. Adult zebra mussels can attach and be moved on boat hulls, engines and other equipment. Microscopic larva can get trapped and moved in water of boat engines, bilges, bait buckets, and live wells.
Water Chestnuts: This prolific annual plant is found in southern Lake Champlain, Lake Bomoseen, and a few inland lakes. It interferes with boating, hunting and fishing, and displaces native plants. It is spread by seeds or rosettes caught on boats and equipment.
Alewife: This small bait fish was recently found in Lake St. Catherine. It may displace our native forage fish and can be introduced to new waterbodies if it is accidentally caught and used for bait, or dumped from bait buckets or live wells.
Entry Prohibited: All vessels, including windsurfers and canoes are prohibited from entering the designated swimming area at the public beach.
This page presents only a summary of the Vermont boating safety operating laws and regulations applicable to Caspian Lake. A complete booklet, Vermont Boating Safety Operating Laws and Regulations, may be obtained free of charge from:
The Vermont Department of Public Safety
State Police Marine Division
103 South Main Street
Waterbury, VT 05671-2101
Accidents ( in case of death or if property damage exceeds $100 or if medical treatment beyond first aid is required) must be reported to the Vermont State Police in St. Johnsbury: 748-3111