Watercraft Safety and Fishing Regulations

Watercraft safety is paramount to ensuring a pleasant and secure boating experience. This includes obeying speed limits, maintaining a safe distance from other boats and docks, and being aware of navigation markers and hazards.

Helpful links from the Minnesota DNR

Minnesota Boating Guide

A great resource for new and seasoned boaters alike, Minnesota DNR publishes the   Minnesota Boating Guide which summarizes the state’s boating laws and regulations. It provides the information most boaters need to know about operating watercraft.

Life jacket requirements

State law requires children under 10 years old to wear a properly fitted life jacket while a boat is underway (not securely fastened to a permanent mooring or tied to a dock).

  • A readily accessible and wearable life jacket is required for each person onboard a boat, including canoes, kayaks, standup paddleboards, paddleboats and waterfowl boats
  • One Type IV throwable is required on boats 16 feet or longer (except canoes and kayaks) and must be immediately available
  • Personal watercraft operators and passengers must each wear a life jacket.

Check the label on the life jacket to make sure it is a U.S. Coast Guard‑approved flotation device.

Fire extinguishers

All fire extinguishers must be U.S. Coast Guard-approved, fully charged, and readily accessible. Motorboats carrying or using fuel or other flammable fluid in an enclosure are required to have a Type B, U.S. Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher(s) on board.

Watercraft registration and fees

All motorized watercraft, regardless of length, and nonmotorized watercraft over 10 feet in length must obtain licensing from the DNR. You can register your watercraft either in person at any Minnesota DMV, the DNR License Center in St. Paul, or online.

Public Water Access

All boats are required to launch from the Bay Lake public landing located on the northeast side of the lake. Please familiarize yourself with proper boat ramp etiquette to help reduce congestion and delays at the ramp.

Aquatic Invasive Species

Bay Lake’s ecosystem faces a notable threat from aquatic invasive species (AIS), which can disrupt its delicate balance. These intruders have the potential to outcompete native species for essential resources, degrade water quality, and jeopardize the overall well-being of the lake.

To safeguard Bay Lake against AIS, all boats undergo inspection upon launch. Adhering to three straightforward steps is crucial: clean your watercraft, drain all water, and dispose of unused bait.