Glen Echo Improvement Association, Inc.
Boating Rules and Courtesies

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Whether you are a year-round, a seasonal resident, or just visiting for the day, we hope that you have an enjoyable time. The following boating rules and courtesies have been drafted through the combined efforts of the Glen Echo Improvement Association, Inc. (GEIA) and the Glen Echo Lake Ski Club. You will find that most of these rules follow existing MA State Boating Laws which are enforceable by officers from both the Charlton Police Department and the Environmental Police Division of Law Enforcement who regularly patrol our lake. We hope that by following these boating laws and common sense courtesies, Glen Echo Lake will continue to be a safe and happy place for all to enjoy.

Important Telephone Numbers
Charlton Police
Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergency: (508) 248-2250

Ambulance: 9-1-1
Environmental Police: (800) 632-8075
State Police: (508) 347-3352

Massachusetts Law
Chapter 91 of the Acts of 2006

An act increasing the speed limit for boating within the narrows in Glen Echo Lake in the Town of Charlton.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:

Notwithstanding any general or special law or regulation to the contrary, the speed limit for motor boating through The Narrows of Glen Echo Lake in the Town of Charlton shall be 35 miles per hour within a clearly marked channel. The channel shall have a minimum width of 120 feet. Swimming shall be prohibited with the channel.

Approved May 31, 2006

Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!

Non-native plant and animal species can have a negative impact on ecosystems. Help prevent introduction of nuisance aquatic plants and animals in Glen Echo Lake by:

  • Cleaning your boat and trailer of any plant fragments or animals before and after entering the water.
  • Disposing of material far away from water bodies.
  • Eliminating water from equipment before transporting.
  • Never releasing plants, fish or animals from a body of water unless they came from that water body.

BOAT OPERATION
* Mass. State Law

  • Traffic flows counter-clockwise on Glen Echo Lake. Please go with the flow and avoid accidents and confrontations.
  • Powerboats driving into the North (small) end of the lake should not turn until they have come to the known end of the lake.
  • Drivers and passengers should be seated at all times.
  • Avoid following any boat pulling a skier or recreational tow. If someone falls you cannot believe how fast the trailing boat can catch up.
  • Always stop when signaled by a Police Officer or if involved in an accident.
  • * Operators of power boats must be 16 years or older unless accompanied on-board by a competent adult 18 years old or older, OR who are persons who have successfully completed the U.S.C.G. approved basic boating course.
  • *Observe the MA State daytime speed limit of 35 MPH through the NARROWS. Boats MUST stay within the marked boat channel.
  • **Observe the MA state daytime speed limit of 45 MPH for powerboats. Nighttime speed limit is 6 MPH (headway speed) sunset to sunrise.
  • * Always have U.S. Coast Guard (C.G.) APPROVED PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICES (PFD) for everyone in your boat, power or non-power. State law requires children twelve years of age and under to wear an approved PFD whenever they are in any type of boat.
  • * Operate at a safe distance from shore - MA State law is 150 feet from shore or a public swimming area. Swimmers may be underwater and not visible to you as you approach.
  • * NEVER operate under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • * Make sure your boat is properly equipped with muffler and underwater exhaust.

THE NARROWS

  • *Observe MA State daytime speed limit of 35 MPH through the NARROWS. Boats MUST stay within the marked boat channel
  • *Do not swim in the boating channel.
  • Water-skiers, tubers, etc., SHOULD stay DIRECTLY BEHIND THE BOAT when traveling through the NARROWS.
  • Do not ski around the buoys in the narrows.

WE ARE A SMALL LAKE. PLEASE USE COMMON SENSE, COURTESY AND EXTRA CAUTION WHEN TRAFFIC IS HEAVY
  • *Powerboats must yield right of way to canoes, sailboats, rowboats, and swimmers. It doesn't take too much effort to slow or turn; you may get a smile or wave in return.
  • *All craft must display running lights, red and green-fore, white-aft, from sunset to sunrise. It's amazing how well an unlit boat blends into the water at night. If other boat operators can't see you, they can't avoid you.
  • *Keep to the right when approaching another boat head-on. When approaching at a right angle, the boat on the right has the right of way.
  • *If you are in trouble, the distress signal is 5 or more short blasts on the horn or a red flag.
  • *All of the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as set forth by the Boating Division of Law Enforcement, Massachusetts General Law Chapter 90B, and the Division of Law Enforcement Regulations, 323 CMR 1.00-5.00 and Massachusetts Law Chapter 91 Acts of 2006 apply to our lake.

WATER SKIIING AND RECREATIONAL TOWING

  • Water-skiers, tubers, etc., SHOULD stay DIRECTLY BEHIND THE BOAT when traveling through the NARROWS.
  • Do not ski around the buoys in the narrows.
  • When dropping a ski, drop it in front of your own property and retrieve the dropped ski as soon as possible.
  • *All boats pulling a water-skier or recreational tow must have a qualified observer in the boat (12 years or older).
  • *No water-skiing or towing between sunset and sunrise or when visibility is too poor to be deemed safe.
  • *All water-skiers, tubers, etc., MUST wear a USCG approved PFD Type I, II, or III.
  • *All boats used for water-skiing must be equipped with a ladder, steps or similar means by which any person being towed can be taken from the water.

GENERAL COURTESIES

  • Reflectors must be on any objects that project from the water. Rafts and extended docks can be difficult to see at night even when you have a good idea where they are.
  • Please help keep our lake clean. Place a trash bag in your boat and use it.
  • Do not swim further than 50 feet from shore unless along side a boat. Boat operators are busy navigating and watching for other boats, they may not see a swimmer who is 90% under the water.
  • Our lake is small. We urge residents to discourage visitors from bringing power boats or PWCs onto the lake. If you do have visitors who bring any type of motorized craft onto the water, please advise them of the current rules.

PERSONAL WATERCRAFT (PWC)
(Jetskis, wet bike, surf jet, etc.)

  • Traffic flows counter-clockwise on Glen Echo Lake. Please go with the flow and avoid accidents and confrontations
  • PWC driving into the North (small) end of the lake should not turn until they have come to the known end of the lake
  • *No persons under the age of 16 may operate a PWC. Persons 16-17 years of age must complete a basic boating course and an additional class on PWC operation and have a "Safety Certificate" given by the USCG or Environmental Police Division of Law Enforcement in their possession when operating a PWC. Violation of this one can be very expensive.
  • *You must wear a USCG approved PFD Type I, II or III when on a personal watercraft.
  • *DO NOT operate a PWC in a negligent manner, such as:
    • unreasonable jumping or attempting to jump the wake of another vessel;
    • following within 150 feet of a skier or recreational tow;
    • speeding in restricted areas;
    • crossing unreasonably close to another vessel;
    • operating in such a manner as to endanger life, limb, or property of another person;
    • towing a water-skier or any person in any manner;
    • operating a PWC between sunset and sunrise or when visibility is too poor to be deemed safe;
    • weaving through congested traffic
  • *Observe MA State daytime speed limit of 45 MPH. Since PWC do not have lights, they may not be operated at night.
  • *Observe MA State daytime speed limit of 35 MPH through the NARROWS. PWC MUST stay within the marked boat channel.
  • *Keep 150 feet from shore, other craft, swimmers, etc.

We all share the same front yard!

Boating Rules and Courtesies Latest Revision: January 2006

MA EnvPolice Boat Course List