How to Have an Unforgettable Boat Camping Adventure

Typical Rules and Regulations

Many boat-in campsites have a different set of expectations and regulations; always research specific rules for the place you plan to visit. However, some rules are the same no matter where you are. The following regulations are standard throughout the U.S.

More: 8 Tips for State Park Camping

Having a self-contained sanitary unit on board

This is a polite way of referencing a "porta-potty." Your toilet must be Coast Guard approved (Learn more at USCG.mil), have a holding tank with a tight closure, and be installed in a private location.

Location-specific:

  • Inquire about the nearest offshore waste dumps along your route. No matter where you go, you must always dump your waste at an appropriate facility.

More: 10 Unforgettable Family Campgrounds

Being equipped with anchor lights

Your boat must be equipped with anchor lights, allowing other boaters or patrol boats to see you at night and avoid a collision.

Mooring properly

For safety, always tie up outside the main traffic channels and within 200 feet of shore. Make sure you're not in swing distance of any other boats in the vicinity, and that your anchor is properly set.

Location-specific:

  • Many docks and mooring sites are privately owned, or owned by a federal, state or local agency, in which case, permission and/or permits may be required.
  • Most often, lakes and waterways require that people tie up to the shore at a designated campground. Remember, camping on shore may be prohibited in non-designated areas, and pulling up on shore for the night may also be against regulation.

PFDs

More commonly known as life vests or lifejackets, a Personal Flotation Device must be available for every passenger onboard, including the driver.

More: Important Paddling Gear

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About the Author

Jeff Adams

Jeff Adams is a California-based freelance writer, contributor to ReserveAmerica.com and an avid camping enthusiast. He's been dragging his trailer and willing family around the western U.S. for more than a decade.
Jeff Adams is a California-based freelance writer, contributor to ReserveAmerica.com and an avid camping enthusiast. He's been dragging his trailer and willing family around the western U.S. for more than a decade.

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