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Changes to Boating Regulations

Notice buoy

The information provided on this webpage is a summary of regulatory ideas and proposals that are being considered by the department. The purpose of posting this text is to make the public aware of the issues and to elicit public feedback on these ideas. Comments on the ideas presented provide the department with invaluable information and perspectives that may be incorporated into content or editorial changes. We appreciate your time and your commitment to Maryland's natural resources. The graphic within each topic will help you follow the change through the regulatory process. Learn our terminology.

If you wish to request a boating regulation change, please fill out one of the following forms:

  • For individuals with a Google email account, use this form.
  • ​For individuals without a Google email account, use this form.​

Boating Regulation Change Requests are accepted annually through April 15. Requests submitted after the April 15 annual deadline will be considered the next calendar year.

If interested in more information on how to submit a Request for a Boating Regulation Change, please contact Mike Simonsen at: (410) 260-8272 or by email: michael.simonsen@maryland.gov.


Click on a title below to be taken to a regulation change.



Scoping Phase ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY — Clements Creek

The department received a request to modify the current boating regulation in Clements Creek to 6 knots at all times during the year.



Scoping Phase

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY — Grays Creek

The department received a request to expand the current 6 knot speed regulation out to red day mark #2, then further extend the 6 knot restriction from the Grays Creek entrance to Long Cove Point and to the Little Island, then over to Hickory Point and back to the entrance of Grays Creek. This is a total length from the Grays Creek entrance to red day marker #2 of approximately 333 meters.



Scoping Phase

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY — Severn Narrows Area

The department received a request to modify the current speed limits for the area to 6 knots at all times during the year.



Scoping Phase

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY — Yantz Creek

The department received a request to expand the current regulated area of Yantz Creek approximately 400 feet down the waterway, south by southwest, towards the Severn River. The speed limit in the current area is 6 knots at all times during the year.



Scoping Phase

BALTIMORE COUNTY — Frog Mortar Creek

The department needs to amend the speed limit in Frog Mortar Creek and Stansbury Creek. The limit will be changing from a speed limit of 6-knots on Saturdays, Sundays, and State holidays all year to a speed limit of 6-knots on Saturdays, Sundays, and State holidays during the boating season.



Scoping Phase

CALVERT COUNTY — Leason Cove

The department received a request to expand the existing 6 knot speed zone. The request is for expansion of the 6 knot speed zone for all vessels by moving the 6 knot at all times buoy 450 yards to the mouth of Leason Cove (Mill Creek area of Lusby).



Scoping Phase

CECIL COUNTY — Middle Bohemia River

The department is considering modifying the existing speed zone in the Middle Bohemia River. The speed zone would be extended approximately 1.2 nautical miles downstream to a line from Rich Point on the northern side of the Bohemia to Battery Point on the southern side of the Bohemia. This area would have a 6 knot speed limit on Saturdays, Sundays, and State holidays, all year, consistent with how the current area is regulated.



Scoping Phase

DORCHESTER COUNTY — Slaughter Creek and Chapel Cove

The department is considering establishing a regulated speed zone beginning at the mouth of Slaughter Creek and including the Chapel Cove waterway. The speed zone would be 6 knots all times during the year for the Slaughter Creek and Chapel Cove waterways.



Thermometer Graphic - Effective
NAVIGATIONAL RULES — Housekeeping
COMAR 08.18.01.04

The purpose of this action is​ to update the regulation that requires boaters to follow the federal rules for operating in Maryland waters. During a review of the regulation it was discovered that certain information in the regulation was incorrect. The proposed action corrects the name of the federal act, cites the appropriate sections of the Code of Federal Regulations, and removes the reference to rules that are incorporated by reference. The document that is incorporated by reference is a guide about navigation rules that no longer exists. The guide has been updated and is available on the United States Coast Guard’s website. The Code of Federal Regulations, 33 CFR §83, requires an individual to carry the guide on the vessel. Therefore, it is no longer necessary to specifically reference the guide in regulation because it is included as part of the requirement to comply with the Inland Navigational Rules Act of 1980.

 
 
 
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Thermometer Graphic - Effective
POTOMAC RIVER — Harry W. Nice/Thomas “Mac” Middleton Bridge - 
COMAR 08.18.21.07

The purpose of this action is to establish a 6-knot speed limit in the Potomac River for the area surrounding the construction site of the Maryland Transportation Authority’s Harry W. Nice/Thomas “Mac” Middleton Bridge Replacement Design-Build Project. This regulation will be effective through December 31, 2024.

The project involves construction of a new bridge and demolition of the existing Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial/Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton Bridge. This action has been developed in cooperation with the Maryland Transportation Authority and the U.S. Coast Guard. The Maryland General Assembly Joint Committee for Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review granted emergency status to this proposal so that it could be in place immediately and protect help protect all waterway users, employees, and contractors. An additional proposal will be submitted in February that will extend the speed zone through December 2024. Buoys have been placed to mark the speed zone.

 
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Thermometer Graphic - Final Decision
POTOMAC RIVER — Harry W. Nice/Thomas “Mac” Middleton Bridge — Expansion
COMAR 08.18.21.07

Please Note: This is an expansion of the proposal that is currently in effect for this area. The department is planning to submit a proposal that will expand the 6-knot speed limit in the Potomac River for the area surrounding the construction site of the Maryland Transportation Authority’s Harry W. Nice/Thomas “Mac” Middleton Bridge Replacement Design-Build Project. The proposal will expand the area that was established in the emergency action and be effective through December 31, 2024.

This action is necessary to ensure public safety and protect human life. Without an established speed limit, the construction zone poses safety threats for all waterway users, employees, and contractors. This action is being developed in cooperation with the Maryland Transportation Authority and the U.S. Coast Guard.

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Scoping Phase

QUEEN ANNE’S COUNTY — Crab Alley Creek

The department received a request to establish a new regulated speed zone with a speed limit of 6 knots at all times during the year in Crab Alley Creek.



Scoping Phase

QUEEN ANNE’S COUNTY — Queenstown Creek and Little Queenstown Creek

The department is considering establishing a regulated speed zone with a 6 knot speed limit at all times during the year in Queenstown Creek and Little Queenstown Creek.



Scoping Phase

QUEEN ANNE’S COUNTY — Upper Corsica River

The department received a request to establish a new speed zone in the area from Centreville Landing (wharf) downstream to Sycamore Point. The request is for the speed limit in the area to be 6 knots at all times during the year.



Scoping Phase

STATEWIDE — Boat Act Advisory Committee

The department would like to update the regulations for the Maryland Boat Act Advisory Committee. The Maryland Boat Act Advisory Committee is one of several advisory bodies for the department. The regulation will be updated by correcting references to statute, removing duplicative wording, and making the requirements consistent with other advisory bodies.



Scoping Phase

STATEWIDE — Validation Stickers

The department needs to clarify the regulation for validation stickers. Specifically:

  1. The reference to the statute is incorrect and will be updated;
  2. The regulation needs to specify that two stickers are required on the vessel;
  3. The regulation needs to specify that the stickers need to be placed within six inches of the vessel identification number; and
  4. There needs to be a process specified in regulation for a temporary sticker issued to an individual when they purchase a vessel from a licensed dealer.


Scoping Phase

TALBOT COUNTY — Caulk Cove

The department received a request to establish a new speed zone for Caulk Cove. The request is for the area to have a 6 knot speed limit at all times during the year.



Scoping Phase

TALBOT COUNTY — Le Gates Cove

The department received a request to establish a new speed zone for Le Gates Cove beginning near the junction of Peach Blossom Creek. The request is for the area to have a speed limit of 6 knots at all times during the boating season.



Scoping Phase

TALBOT COUNTY — Miles River Bridge

The department received a request to establish a speed limit in the Miles River Bridge area. The request is for the speed limit to be 6 knots at all times during the year 300 yards on the downriver and upriver side of the Miles River Bridge/State Route 370.



Scoping Phase

TALBOT COUNTY — Upper Bolingbroke Creek

The department received a request to change the speed limit in Upper Bolingbroke Creek from 6 knots on Saturdays, Sundays, and State holidays to 6 knots at all times during the year.



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Regulation Definitions for Boating

Scoping

During the scoping process, the Department gathers suggestions and ideas from stakeholders and others about how to solve a boating problem or address a need. The goal of scoping is to identify issues, potential impacts, and reasonable alternatives associated with the issues so that management actions can be developed. The Department considers these comments and develops an appropriate management strategy.

Development

After the public has had an opportunity to comment on the initial regulation request, the information is presented to the Boat Act Advisory Committee for further review. The public may make additional comments at the meeting. The Department, in consultation with the Boat Act Advisory Committee, considers the comments and develops an appropriate management strategy. The Secretary of Natural Resources then decides if a management strategy is necessary and appropriate. If the action is necessary and appropriate, a proposal is sent to the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee (AELR). AELR analyzes each proposal for legal and fiscal concerns. The proposal is then sent to the Division of State Documents (DSD) for publishing in the Maryland Register. DSD staff edit the proposal for proper format prior to printing.

Comment Period

This part of the process begins when the proposal is published in the Maryland Register. The public comment period is 30 days for all proposed regulations in Maryland as required by State law. The Department welcomes public comment on proposed regulations. Comments on the proposal provide the Department with additional information and perspectives that in some cases may be incorporated into editorial changes.

Final Decision

At the end of the 30 day comment period the Secretary of Natural Resources decides whether to approve or disapprove the proposed measure. A final action will be sent to the Division of State Documents (DSD) for printing in the Maryland Register.

Effective

A final action is published in the Maryland Register stating the date that the management action is effective.

 
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Resolution of Previous Regulation Requests​


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