Love Your Lake?  Watch Your Wake!

Stay at Least 200 feet from Shore and People in the Water  Thank you!!

Recreation on our lakes and rivers continues to grow.  With it comes more boats, bigger boats, and boats with bigger wakes. It is more important than ever to understand boating etiquette and boating laws. There is a lot of room out there, so when in doubt always err on the side of caution and common courtesy. 


Wakes from motorized watercraft have a number of impacts on our waterways.  Kayakers and paddleboarders are easily capsized by wakes and have difficulty navigating.  Fishing boats are often stationary or moving slowly. The shoreline and the people on it, can end up bearing the brunt of the energy a wake produces.   Excessive wakes from boat motors and personal watercraft can exacerbate shoreline erosion and create an unsafe environment for swimming and wading.  Boating at high speeds along the shoreline where people, woody debris, hidden pilings, and other hazards exist, is dangerous and unnecessary. 

Distances For No Wakes

A “No Wake” zone is defined as “a designated area where the operation of watercraft must be accomplished at not more than five miles per hour, nor with more than a six-inch wake, whichever is greater.

Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend Oreille River, Priest Lake & Upper Priest Lake

  • Within two hundred (200) feet from any shoreline, dock, pier, bridges, other structure or any person in the water.
  • Within one hundred (100) feet of any other vessel, the speed of which shall not exceed fifteen (15) miles per hour.
  • Within fifty (50) feet of any other vessel.
  • Within two hundred (200) feet of the area surrounding ALL bridge structures.

Clark Fork River

  • 100’ of the Clark Fork River is a “No Wake” zone

Speed Limits

Where speed is not otherwise regulated, the speed limit shall be reasonable and prudent but not in excess of the following:

Lake Pend Oreille and Pend Oreille River50 mph25 mph
Priest Lake and Upper Priest Lake50 mph25 mph
Clark Fork River and Come Back Bay35 mph25 mph

Boat Noise

Idaho state law requires all vessels shall meet requirements for engine and hull noise when operating on the waters of Idaho.  They shall be equipped with an effective, permanently installed muffling system which cannot be bypassed, such as those commonly referred to as Captain’s Choice or Silent Code (Idaho Code 67-7038(5))

Age requirements for motorboats (Including Personal Watercraft)

It shall be unlawful to operate, or to allow the operation of a motor-driven watercraft by a person under the age of ten (10) except under direct adult supervision.

The age restriction provided for shall apply to the operation of personal watercraft.

It shall be unlawful to operate, or to allow someone to operate a motor-driven watercraft when the operator is between the ages of ten (10) to fourteen (14) without adult SUPERVISION unless the vessel is powered by a motor rated at ten (10) horsepower or less.