House Approves 300-Foot Wake Boat Setback

Concord—May 24, 2024—The N.H. House of Representatives this week passed an amended bill to increase the shoreline setback for wake boats from 150 feet to 300 feet. The vote was 214-148.

The bill, SB 431, will now go to a conference committee to determine if House and Senate versions can be reconciled.

In its original form, SB 431 proposed increasing the shoreline setback from 150 feet to 200 feet, a change NH LAKES said was inadequate to address documented environmental and safety issues created by the boats, which purposely generate outsized wakes.

The Concord non-profit mounted a successful campaign that resulted in many of the state’s lake communities opposing the bill in its original form, and urging the House Resources, Recreation and Development Committee to amend it by increasing the setback to 300-feet.

The committee did so, and the amended bill is what passed the House this week.

The approval by the House is a win for NH LAKES, which saw its previous effort to increase the wake boat setback, HB 1390, fail after State Representative Joe Sweeney (R-Salem) made a successful motion to table it before it could be discussed by the full body.

Sweeney called the bill “awful” and said it would “destroy the culture present on countless New Hampshire lakes.” He voted against SB 431 this past week.

Local State Representatives Jonathan Smith and Michael Costable voted in favor of the amended bill. Representative Mark McConkey was excused from the session and did not vote.

Local State Senator Jeb Bradley was a sponsor of SB 431 in its original version, with a 200-foot shoreline setback.



  1. Bradford Kennedy 2 months ago May 25, 2024

    I support the 300′ shoreline setback with enforcement requirements and associated fines. I see boat owners doing whatever they want, as fast as they want, whether they are aware of the law or not.

  2. Richard Lover 2 months ago May 26, 2024

    Although the 300 ‘ set back is a great idea and without a doubt needed, it is only going to be as good as the ENFORCEMENT of it . If the state can’t enforce their rules governing the OLNA area……what makes you think that they will have enough Marine Patrol on the water to enforce this? Sorry to say it is going to be yet another great idea that nothing will come of.

  3. tj236 2 months ago May 27, 2024

    Hopefully the distinction between the wake boats and all other boats can be made properly. I support the idea of the setback but am concerned that the law would be applied erroneously.


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