What are the boating laws, rules, regulations and ordinances I need to know for Lake Norman?
The waters of Lake Norman are regulated by the statutes of North Carolina, the Lake Norman Marine Commission, NC Wildlife Resources Commission and by the counties that surround the lake, Catawba County, Iredell County, Lincoln County & Mecklenburg County.
Listed below are laws you should know (Please Note: This information in not Warranted or Guaranteed. It is not the scope of this website to provide the complete law. It is only the intent of this website to bring attention to some common laws).
- Boater’s education certificate required for all boaters born after January 1, 1988. http://www.ncwildlife.org/Portals/0/Boating/documents/Safe_Boating_Education_FAQ_Brochure.pdf
- No one under 14 years old can operate a PWC in North Carolina waters. http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2005/Bills/House/HTML/H702v5.html
- No wakes are allowed within 150′ of any bridge, boat launch, dock, pier, water intake or structure on Lake Norman. http://www.ncleg.net/enactedlegislation/statutes/html/bysection/chapter_75a/gs_75a-14.1.html
- Children under 13 must wear a life jacket while boating. http://www.ncwildlife.org/Boating/LawsSafety/ChildrenMustWearPFDs.aspx
- There are laws specific to the operation of jet skis (personal watercraft – PWC), please go to this link and observe these laws. http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/enactedlegislation/statutes/html/bysection/chapter_75a/gs_75a-13.3.html
- All boats must have a muffling system for noise control. http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/enactedlegislation/statutes/html/bysection/chapter_75a/gs_75a-9.html
- The link to the North Carolina Boating & Water Safety Statutes, Chapter 75A is : http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/statutes/statutelookup.pl?statute=75A
Who do I contact to report boating safety, no wake and other violations?
The Lake Norman Marine Commission, residents of Lake Norman and users of Lake Norman are dependent on the efforts of the various law enforcement agencies on the lake to enforce the laws and ordinances regarding lake use, please contact the lake patrol division of the County in which you reside and/or NC Wildlife Resources Commission.
- Catawba County: 828-464-3112
- Cornelius Police Department: 704-892-1363 ext. 261
- Iredell County: 704-878-3100
- Lincoln County: 704-735-8202
- Mecklenburg County: 704-943-6200
- NC Wildlife Resources Commission: 1-800-662-7137
Who do I contact about docks, piers, shoreline management and dredging?
Duke Energy Lake Use Permitting, 800-443-5193. You may also refer to the Shoreline Management Plan/Guidelines. Click here to download: https://www.duke-energy.com/community/lakes/services/cw-shoreline-management-plan
What is the lake level today?
Duke Energy Lake Information, 800-829-LAKE
Permitted Charter Boats?
- Catawba Queen; www.queenslanding.com
- Lady of the Lake; www.queenslanding.com
- Yachta Yachta Yachta; https://www.facebook.com/yachtayachtayachtayachtcharters
- The Carolina Grace; www.cruisethelake.com
Rental Boat companies observing a best practices procedure?
- Westport Marina; www.boatwestportmarina.com
- CS Rentals of Lake Norman; www.lakenormanjetskirentals.com
- Morningstar Marinas at Kingspoint; www.morningstarmarinas.com/kings-point
The Catawba River Channel that winds through Lake Norman is spanned by five major bridges & sixteen additional bridges cross creeks or connect exclusive island properties to the mainland. Listed below are the approximate vertical bridge clearances when the lake is at full pond (760 feet above sea level). Wave height must be factored in when boat clearances are tight.
- I-40 Bridge – Catawba River – over 10′ 0″
- Highway 70 Bridge – Catawba River – over 10′ 0″
- Railroad Bridge – Catawba River – over 10′ 0″
- Railroad Bridge – Buffalo Creek – 3′ 0″
- Buffalo Shoals Rd. Bridge – Catawba River – over 10′ 0″
- State Rd. 1832 – Balls Creek – 5′ 6″
- Windermere Island Bridge – Catawba River – over 10′ 0″
- Mollys Backbone Rd. Bridge – Terrapin Creek – 2′ 0″
- State Park Rd. Bridge – Hicks Creek – 3′ 0″
- Perth Rd. Bridge – Rocky Creek – 3′ 0″
- Perth Rd. Bridge – Cornelius Creek – 5 ‘3″
- Cornelius Rd. Bridge -Cornelius Creek – 4 ‘0″
- Highway 150 Bridge – Catawba River – 8′ 5″ & 11′ 1″
- Highway 150 Bridge – Mountain Creek – 5′ 9″
- Highway 150 Bridge – Reed Creek (LKN Marina) – 5′ 9″
- Mount Pleasant Rd. Bridge – Mountain Creek – 5′ 5″
- Railroad Bridge – Mountain Creek – 6′ 3″
- Slanting Bridge Rd. – Mountain Creek – over 10′ 0″
- Governors Island Rd. Bridge – East of Burton Creek – 7′ 10″
- Williamson Rd. Bridge – Reeds Creek – 6′ 0″
- I – 77 Bridge – Reeds Creek – 10′ 3″