Boating Safety

Marina sceneCourtesy on the Water

The Chesapeake Bay is home to an array of boats and boaters. There are approximately 212,000 registered boats in the State which means everyone needs to be aware of their actions out on the water.

With this in mind, the Natural Resources Police, would like to remind all boaters the importance of...WATCHING YOUR WAKE!

The definition of a boat wake is the wave of water resulting from the passage of the boat's hull through the water. This wave of water, depending on the size and speed of the vessel, can be very large, and may cause problems in a variety of situations.

  • Vessels in a marina may be susceptible to damage caused by excessive wakes.
  • Sailboats in adjacent slips may be rocked by a wake causing their masts to collide or become entangled in the shrouds.
  • People on board their vessels may be knocked down or possibly knocked overboard as a result of an unexpected wake.
  • Operate in the channel as much as possible. A little less speed may make a world of difference to other boaters and local residents.
  • YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR WAKE and we urge you to exercise courtesy and common sense.


  • When overtaking a slower vessel in open water, do so with as much room as depth conditions allow and slow your speed.
  • Be especially cautious of smaller vessels such as canoes or kayaks which may be less stable.
  • You are responsible for the safety of your passengers, your boat and any damage to other boats and personal property.
  • Avoid creating an excessive wake in narrow confined areas.
  • Operate slowly at all times when in the vicinity of marinas and launch ramps.

Boating Safety Course Schedule