(a) Allowed March 15th through November 30th, conditions permitting, one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.
A WSSC use permit is required for all boater activities by persons that are 16 years of age or older. Minors under 18 years old must be accompanied by a person at least 18 years of age who also holds a valid use permit. A use permit is only valid when used by the person to whom it is issued, and must be carried at all times when using WSSC property.
WSSC requires that all boats/kayaks/canoes that have been used in another river, lake, or pond be cleaned and dry prior to use in any of WSSC’s reservoirs.
Boating will not be allowed if conditions on the reservoir(s) are icy. Open/close status of the reservoir(s) is available at www.wsscwater.com. General boating requirements are set by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources; boaters must know the requirements and abide by them. The State of Maryland requires that boats carry a whistle or air horn, and personal flotation devices (PFDs). All boats must fully comply with State of Maryland and WSSC rules and regulations.
WSSC’s regulations require use of U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices (PFDs) by occupants of: boats, kayaks, canoes, sailboats, and inflatable vessels.
Boats or craft less than eight feet in length and inflatable craft less than nine feet in length are not allowed.
The entire surface of both reservoirs, except those areas beyond lines marked with safety buoys, is available to all use permit-holding boaters. All boats, including sailboats, are limited to the designated fishing and boating waters of the reservoirs. Boaters may embark and disembark only at WSSC designated launch areas.
Boats used for single-day outings do not have to be registered by WSSC, but will not be left unattended. Boats used for single-day outings must be launched and removed only at designated launching points.
(b) Boat Specifications. Gasoline engine use is strictly prohibited except for use by WSSC, fire and rescue departments, police and/or military boats used for: patrol, training, emergencies or maintenance. These craft are exempted from this prohibition, as are contractors working on behalf of WSSC.
Boats propelled by oars, paddles, or sails are allowed. Boats propelled by electrically operated motors (battery powered) are also permitted, provided they are equipped with suitable oars or paddles and are registered with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
Surfboards, windsurfers, paddleboards, sailboards, rafts, houseboats, mattresses, unseaworthy watercraft, or any craft which facilitates frequent body contact with water in the reservoir, or any craft sold as a toy rather than a boat are not permitted on WSSC reservoirs. No float fishing tubes are allowed. Experimental watercraft or novelty watercraft of an unconventional design must have specific approval by WSSC before use on the reservoir(s). All boats must be buoyant if submerged and must float if they are swamped. All inflatable craft must have at least three separate air chambers.
Boats must be of safe design and must be in safe condition. All boats deemed by WSSC to be unsafe, or which fail to meet any of the above specifications, will be immediately removed from the reservoirs. If necessary, WSSC will dispose of the boat or craft. The WSSC is not responsible for damage to, loss of, or any unauthorized use of any boat or craft, whether or not it is being held by WSSC for violations of these regulations.
(c) Safety Load Limits. The U.S. Coast Guard requires boat manufacturers to install a capacity plate in plain sight of the helm on most vessels less than 20 feet in length. The capacity plate provides the operator with information concerning the maximum number of persons on board and total weight the boat can carry which includes persons, equipment, fuel, engine, etc. Always adhere to the information provided on the capacity plate. Do not overload your boat. Anyone who exceeds the boat or craft’s rated load capacity may, in accordance with Maryland law, be charged with reckless or negligent operation, in addition to revocation of the WSSC watershed use permit. (REG-WWM-PR-2301-001)