Thursday, June 4, 2015

Wrightsville Beach Boat Launch Rules and Regulations

Wrightsville Beach offers some of the East Coast's best locations for boating. If you're planning to bring a boat down to WB, make sure you take some time to familiarize yourself with the area's rules and regulations.

The first thing to keep in mind, is that Wrightsville Beach has its own set of regulations when it comes to boats and other water crafts. What might be allowed in other parts of the country could potentially get you in trouble here, so don't risk ruining your vacation or day of fun by forgetting to check the local laws!

Here are the main rules and regulations you need to know to enjoy boating in Wrightsville Beach:

All watercraft in operation must be equipped with the following:

  • registration
  • personal flotation devices
  • fire extinguishers
  • sound-producing devices
  • flame arrestors
  • ventilation
  • exhaust mufflers
  • lights (from sunset to sunrise)


While in the water, all watercraft in Wrightsville Beach must operate at reasonable speeds. What is considered "reasonable" may vary depending on weather conditions, volume of boat traffic, and other factors. In short, use your best judgement when determining your craft's speed.

All watercraft MUST decrease to no-wake speed while entering, passing, or leaving state-controlled fishing or boating access areas (boat ramps, piers, docks, etc.).

Watercraft passing close to swimming areas, moored boats, or boats engaged in fishing, servicing buoys, or similar activities, MUST reduce their speed to prevent their wash or wake from disturbing other occupants or watercraft in the area.

Approaching Other Vessels

Vessels operating in North Carolina waters MUST slow to no-wake speed when passing within 100 feet of law enforcement vessels that are flashing a blue light, unless the vessel is in a narrow channel, in which case vessels must slow to no-wake speed within 50 feet of passing law enforcement vessels that are flashing a blue light.

When approaching another watercraft, stay to the right.

Sailboats not using power and boats propelled by oars or paddles have the right-of-way; however, small pleasure crafts must yield to large, commercial vessels in narrow channels.

Read the Signs

Make sure you adhere to any and all signs and buoys that give the speed limit or warn of danger zones, etc. Do not navigate your vessel into any area that is marked as prohibited to boat traffic.

Know Before You Go!

Last, but certainly not least - make sure you are prepared for the weather and the tides! Know your boat's limits and check the weather forecast before shoving off! If you do this, and follow all of the above rules and regulations, you're sure to make your Wrightsville Beach boating experience very enjoyable!

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