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Smart Boating

Emergency?  Call the Marine Patrol at 1-877-642-9700

Best Practices

With generations to come in mind, we offer these ‘Best Practices’ with two goals:

Goal 1: to assure a safe and enjoyable boating experience on Spofford Lake.

Goal 2: to safeguard the Lake, particularly the shoreline from the corrosive impacts of erosion. 

For details on smart boating and obtaining a NH boating license go to  

How can I help protect Spofford Lake while boating?

    • Arrive “Cleaned, Drained & Dried” to prevent invasive hitchhikers from entering Spofford Lake.   
    • Operate your vessel at headway speed only, i.e., the slowest speed at which a boat can advance, if within 150 feet of:  the shoreline, swimmers, kayaks, sailboats, paddleboards, rafts, swim areas, docks or mooring fields.
    • Minimize repetitive passes as this creates continuous wave action which leads to shoreline erosion.
    • Fill your fuel tank carefully (preferably away from the Lake) to avoid any excess from entering the water.
    • Don’t operate in shallow water where your prop or pump intake can stir up bottom sediments and destroy aquatic plants.
    • Don’t use toxic cleaners, like TSP (trisodium phosphate) to clean you boat near Spofford Lake. Instead use phosphate-free marine products.
    • Spofford Lake is a ‘carry in carry out’ facility.  A trash can and port-a-potty are available at the boat ramp.

Watercraft Courtesy Tips for Everyone

Share the waters of Spofford Lake.  Whether a kayaker, fisherman, or wake boarder, remember to be courteous.  We all have a right to use Spofford Lake safely and enjoyably.

  • Adhere to all buoy markings such as “swimming areas” and “no wake zones.”
  • Vary your operating area and do not keep repeating the same maneuver.
  • Go slow when approaching other boats or give them a wide berth so as to not cause harm to other boats.
  • Do be mindful of anglers who may have lines out to the sides of their boats or trolling behind them.
  • Keep music at reasonable levels.  And don't make excessive noise as others may be enjoying a quiet and relaxing time.  Sound carries far over water.  Shhhh, we hear you!
  • Do not modify your engine exhaust system if it increases the noise. Improperly modified exhausts will not make your PWC (personal water craft)  faster and may raise the noise to an illegal level.
  • Don’t initiate maneuvers that cause the engine exhaust to lift out of the water.  

Speed, Distance & General Safety Rules

  • Have a valid Safe Boater Education Certificate (SEC) for vessels powered by more than 25 horsepower and operated by a person 16 years or older only or for person under 16 years of age and if accompanied by a person 18 years or older.  
  • Follow the speed limits: 20 mph maximum between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise, 40 mph maximum at all other times.
  •  Maintain a minimum distance of 200 feet from the shoreline if tubing or water skiing, 300 feet if wake boarding/surfing. 
  •  Wear a Type I, II, or III USCG–approved life jacket.
  • Adhere to the “No Wake Zone” buoys near Pierce Island.  Also make ‘no wake’ in cove-like areas.
  • Don’t overtake other vessels at a speed or wake that causes danger or damage
  • Do not operate your vessel in a way that makes it become airborne. 

Skiing, Tubing, and Wakeboating

  • Maintain a minimum distance of 200 feet from the shoreline and Pierce Island if tubing or water skiing.  If wake boarding/surfing, maintain a minimum distance of 300 feet from the shoreline and in water 30+ feet deep.  Avoid cove-like areas.
  • Have a valid Safe Boater Education Certificate and be a minimum 16 years old. 
  • Operate from sunrise to sunset only and always in a safe and responsible manner
  • Use a vessel that is rated for at least three people: operator, spotter, and skier (tuber or surfer).  
  • Have a spotter (other than the operator) on board to observe the progress of the person being towed. The spotter (minimum 13 years old) must be able to determine when the person is in trouble and be able to assist. 
  • Don’t weave a through congested waterway traffic, or get close enough to another vessel or person that might endanger others or their property.


  • Swim within your means. 
  • Stay within 50 feet of the shoreline.
  • Wear a highly visible swimming cap or floatation buoy topped with flag so you are easily seen by vessel operators.
  • Avoid swimming in early dawn and after dusk hours when visibility is poor.

    Page updated March 20, 2023


    (kayaks, canoes, rowboats, paddleboards)

    • Acquire the skills necessary to operate safely small, unstable craft. 
    • Consider yourself a boater.  People in small boats, such as canoes, kayaks, are more than twice as likely to drown as individuals operating larger vessels.
    • When in a group, don’t travel tip to tail, as this makes it difficult for motorboats to maneuver around a string of boats.
    • Never overload the craft. Tie down gear and distribute weight evenly.
    • Stay alert at all times and be aware of your surroundings, including nearby powerboats. Be prepared to react when dangerous situations arise.
    • For non-motorized boats, e.g., kayaks, the only public location from which kayaks may be launched is the boat ramp.  For reasons of preventing invasive species and per Town regulations, kayaks may not be launched from either Ware’s Grove or North Shore beach. 


    •  Consider yourself first as a vessel operator, then an angler. 
    • Pay attention to the capacity plate and do not overload your vessel.
    • Maintain a courteous distance from docks and other boats especially when casting so to not ‘catch’ something other than a fish. 
    • Don’t toss used fishing line into the Lake.  It is not biodegradable and is dangerous to for wildlife, including the loons, eagles, and other fish.  Recycle or toss used fishing line receptacle at the boat ramp.                          


    Spofford Lake Association

    PO Box 177
    Spofford, NH 03462

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