Illegal discharge and littering:  This Ordinance summarizes the several North Carolina State Laws which prohibit “Illegal Discharge” or depositing or discharging litter, directly or indirectly, which includes any form of “waste” disposal from boats. “Waste” means and includes sewage, industrial waste, other waste or toxic waste. “Illegal Discharge” is to “place, throw, deposit, or discharge or caused to be placed, thrown, deposited or discharged on the waters of this State or into the inland lake water of the State, any litter, raw sewage, bottles, cans, papers, or other liquid or solid matter which renders the water unsightly, noxious, or otherwise unwholesome so as to be detrimental to the public health or welfare or to the enjoyment and safety of the water for recreational purposes”.

In addition boats with holding tanks, are required to “seal” shut overboard discharge lines and all Boat Dealers will be required to “seal” shut discharge lines for boats with holding tanks. Also, all Public and Private Marinas are required to make part of their applicable rules and  regulations and covenants that all boats which permanently occupy their Marinas and have holding tanks to permanently seal their overboard discharge lines.



SECTION 1.  SHORT  TITLE  These regulations may be cited as the “Rafting Safety Regulations”.

SECTION 2.  JURISDICTIONAL BOUNDARIES   These regulations shall be applicable on the waters of Lake Norman, the Boundaries of which are described in Chapter 1089, House Bill 1324 of The Session Laws of 1969 of the State of North Carolina.

SECTION 3.  DEFINITIONS   As used in these regulations, unless the context clearly requires a  different meaning:

  • (a)               “Commission” means the Lake Norman Marine Commission.
  • (b) “Rafting” means the anchoring, tying, fastening, linking, or joining of any combination of three (3) or more vessels together.
  • (c) “Vessel” means every type of watercraft or structure used or capable of being used as a means of transportation or habitation on the water.
  • (d) “Shoreline” means the full pond contour as defined by 760 feet elevation above sea level and does not include islands unless they fall within 300 yards of the shoreline.
  • (e)       “Underway” Neither anchored nor moored to a fixed object.
  • (f) “Making Way” Boat movement attributed to intentional guided motion.


  • (a) Rafting of three (3) to ten (10) vessels shall be conducted at least 100 yards from the shoreline.  Such vessels shall be located at least 200 yards from any other vessel or group of vessels that are tied or anchored together.  Rafting of eleven (11) or more vessels shall be conducted at least 300 yards from the shoreline. Law Enforcement has the right to make all vessels disperse within three hundred yards of the shoreline, if it they can not determine who was there first, failure to disperse would constitute a violation of this ordinance.
  • (b) One (1) or two (2) vessels may be tied or anchored within 100 yards of the shoreline, but they must be at least fifty (50) yards from any other vessel or group of vessels tied or anchored together.
  • (c) Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the area know as the Sandbar, rafting and/or anchoring are prohibited within three hundred yards from shore and to a point defined by signs installed by the Marine Commission. All vessels in this area must be underway and making way at no wake speed or greater, and
  • (d) In the area west of the I-77 Causeway, from Exit 28 to Exit 33, rafting and/or anchoring are prohibited within three hundred yards from shore. All vessels in this area must be underway and making way at no wake speed or greater.
  • (e) The Commission may place signs stating “NO RAFTING – MAXIMUM FINE $500.00” in areas where rafting is prohibited.
  • (f) A special event permit that allows rafting in areas where it is otherwise prohibited may be issued by the Commission.  Permit approval will be conditioned on an assurance by the applicant(s) that reasonable care will be taken to ensure that residents or boaters in the vicinity of the event will not be subjected to unreasonably loud or disturbing noise, that event participants will not engage in any disorderly conduct, and that any islands that are used will be cleaned-up after the event.  A permit application may be denied if the applicant(s) was/were previously issued a permit for an event and the event resulted in a serious complaint from a citizen and/or law enforcement response.  A $50.00 permit application fee will be required.  A permit application must be received by the Commission in writing at least forty-five (45) days before the event.

SECTION 5.  VIOLATIONS  Any person who violates the regulations set forth in Section 4 shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor and shall be subject to a maximum fine of five hundred dollars ($500.00) for each violation.

SECTION 6.  ENFORCEMENT   Law enforcement officers with territorial jurisdiction are  authorized to enforce these regulations.

SECTION 7.  EFFECTIVE DATE  These regulations shall take effect on May 15, 2007, and shall Supersede the “Rafting Safety Ordinance” dated August 1, 2004.

Click here to download a Rafting application: LNMC – rafting application, revised 4-15


Charter Boat:  This ordinance’s purpose is to monitor the operation of all Charter/Excursion Boats on Lake Norman in accordance with the Lake Norman Marine Commission’s (LNMC) “Charter/Excursion Boat Regulations”.  The Charter Boat committee has an Annual Meeting each year in March to review the necessary submittal forms for certifying that each boat has a Qualified Captain (a list of Captains being used is required), the necessary Insurance, Inspection by a Qualified Inspector and a Permanent Location at a Qualified Public Marina. If everything is satisfactory a new Charter Boat Permit for a year is issue effective April 1st of that year. In addition the Committee meets as required to review any reported problems or to review any requests for new charter boats.

Click here to download Charter Boat Ordinance: LNMC-Charter-Boat-Ord.-revised-eff-jun-11-2018


No Wake Buoy:  Approval from the Lake Norman Marine Commission (LNMC) is required prior to installing a No Wake Buoy. The Application fee is $150 and the cost of the buoy, solar powered light, anchor, anchor cable, deployment and the lifetime maintenance of the buoy(s) are the responsibility of the applicant. Initial cost are approximately $2,500. The buoy and buoy components must meet the specifications of the LNMC (see below). Deployment of the buoy must be performed by a LNMC contractor.

The “North Carolina General Statute 75A-14.1 Lake Norman No-Wake Law”.    

This law states as follows:  “It is unlawful to operate a vessel at greater than no-wake speed within 50 yards of a vessel launching area, bridge, dock, pier, marina, vessel storage structure, or vessel service area on the waters of Lake Norman.”

“No-Wake speed” means idle speed or slow speed creating no appreciable wake.

Upon request for a No-Wake Zone Application, the LNMC appropriate Commissioner (County where requested) will discuss with the Applicant the issues involved to decide on the merit of the request.  If an Application is issued, it should be noted that the Application process will require considerable information from the Applicant.  (Note: The LNMC, as well as the Lake Patrols, believe that in most cases efforts of the Applicant and Law Enforcement can correct the problems without using No-Wake Buoys.)   

Once the Application is completed and submitted to the LNMC, the LNMC will issue a notice for a public hearing which will be placed on the LNMC website with the date, time and location of the public hearing.  Upon completion of the public hearing, the LNMC will vote to either approve or deny the application.

It should be noted that the Application process will cover a considerable time period—minimum of 5 months— and must provide sufficient documentation to prove a continuing water safety hazard exists.

Click here to download No Wake Buoy Application & Buoy specifications:

LNMC – No Wake Buoy Application revised 2-13-2017

LNMC – No Wake Buoy Specs revised, Jan 1, 2014


Duke Energy Shoreline Management Plan/Guidelines: Click here to download: