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Boating in Ohio State Parks

Can I go boating on Ohio State Parks lakes?

On state park lakes, boating laws are enforced by state watercraft, park, or wildlife officers; sheriff's deputies; and other law enforcement units with jurisdiction in the area. The following rules apply only to lakes in Ohio state parks.

Do I need a Special Activities Permit?

If you wish to conduct a special activity on Ohio State Park lake you must obtain a permit from the park office 30 days before the event.

What are the State Park Speed Limits?

The speed limit for all Ohio state park lakes is 10 miles per hour, except from sunrise to sunset in designated speed zones, ski zones or open zones.

Powercraft must not be operated at a speed that would be considered unreasonably fast, or in such a way as to disregard surface conditions, surrounding traffic, and all other conditions and situations that are potentially hazardous within the limits of a speed or ski zone, or on an open area.

Are airfoils allowed?

You must not use an airfoil or balloon while being towed by a watercraft for the purpose of becoming airborne over Ohio state park waters.

Are air-propelled powercraft or hovercraft allowed?

Air propelled powercraft or hovercraft may only be operated in ski or speed zones, the water that leads directly to these zones from a dock or ramp, at Indian Lake, Grand Lake St. Mary's, Mosquito Lake and Rocky Fort Lake.

No Wake Zones and Restricted Areas

You must proceed at no wake speed when operating a powercraft inside, or through a danger, shore or no wake zone. 

Can I sleep on my boat?

Whether the boat is adrift, anchored, docked, moored, tied-up or beached, you may only sleep at night while aboard the vessel in areas designated boat camping areas. Inquire about locations of designated boat camping areas at the park office.

Can I go swimming from my boat?

You may only swim, bathe, dive or wade from a watercraft in officially designated boat swimming areas.

Most state parks have an area for boats to pull up to the public beach and many parks have designated boat swim areas. 

Can I drink alcohol in State Parks?

In areas administered by the Division of Parks and Recreation, it is forbidden to overtly and publicly expose the presence of or to consume any beer or alcoholic beverage except while inside a cabin, lodge, room, tent, or camping vehicle, and in areas so authorized for this purpose.

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