Boating Regulations and Navigation

View of Lake Winnipesaukee from the top of Mount Major. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Boating License: A boating-safety certificate is needed to operate a powerboat with an engine of 25 hp or more. The certificate requires passing a boating-safety exam, or proof of equivalent certification in another state. For information, call (888-254-2125) or CLICK HERE for the web page.

Age Limits: Unless accompanied by an adult, persons under 16 may not operate a boat or outboard motor in excess of 25 hp. Persons under 16 may not operate a ski or personal watercraft under any conditions.

Speed Limits: There is a speed limit of 45 mph on the lake during the day and 35 mph at night.

Charts: The Bizer Corporation (617-413-3940) makes a great chart of Winnipesaukee that also serves as a useful guide to marinas, motels, restaurants and fishing charters. The company also sells an app for the iPhone and iPad that allows users to see exactly where t hey are on the lake chart. Cost: $34.99.

Navigation Buoys: Ledges and channels are marked by a system of red and black spar buoys. Red buoys direct you south or west, while black buoys tell you to stay north or east. Be sure you have a compass and a map if new to the lake.

Dockage, Moorings & Service

Slip space is at a premium on Winnipesaukee, but some lakeside motels have dockage for customers, and several town docks allow free tie-up for several hours.


  • SAT map of Wolfboro

    Public docks are located at Dockside, Mast Landing, Back Bay and Libby Museum. Dockage is free, with no time limit, although overnight stays are not allowed.

  • Goodhue and Hawkins Navy Yard (603-569-2371): Full-service marina with a fuel dock, moorings and transient slips for boats under 22′.
  • Wolfeboro Corinthian Yacht Club (603-569-1234): Private club. Sells fuel.
  • Dive Winnipesaukee (603-569-8080)
  • Top Gear (603-569-3200): Marine repair and parts.

Weirs Beach

  • SAT map of Weirs Beach

    Anchor Marine (603-366-4311): Fuel, bait and tackle.

  • Thurston’s Marina (603-366-4811): Repairs, fuel and possible transient slips.
  • Channel Marine (603-366-4801): Offers repair, pumpout and fuel.
  • Paugus Bay Marina (603-524-1233)
  • Fay’s Boat Yard (Gilford): (877-671-0099): Full-service yard offering transient slips, fuel, launch ramp ($20), boat and kayak rental, repairs, marine store.

Center Harbor


  • SAT map of Laconia

    Irwin Marine (603-524-6661): Offers covered slips, boat sales, boat and PWC rental, service and a complete ship’s store.


Launch Ramps


  • Libby Museum: Route 109, 3.1 miles northwest of town. No fee.
  • Back Bay Marina: Bay Street, Wolfeboro. Fee: unknown; Parking: unknown.
  • Back Bay Public Dock: Downtown Wolfeboro, one block north of lake on Railroad Ave. Launch site is behind the old Wolfeboro railroad terminal. No fee. Good parking. Access to the lake requires passage below a bridge with a clearance of 4.2′.
  • Dockside Public Dock: Main Street. No fee. Limited parking for trailers.


  • Glendale: Off Route 11. Next to Marine Patrol headquarters. Gilford residents only.
  • Fay’s Boat Yard: From Jct. 11/11B, go east on route 11 for 0.1 mile, turn left onto Varney Point Rd. Fee: $15. Transient slips and moorings available.
  • Silver Sands Marina (603-293-4481)

Laconia & Weirs Beach

  • Christmas Island: Weirs Boulevard; 1.4 miles south of the Weirs Bridge on the east side of Paugus Bay. Free for motel guests, $10 otherwise. Parking for guests.
  • Lakeport Landing Marina (603-524-3755): Southern end of Paugus Bay; Jct. of Elm Street & Union Ave. Fee: $20; Parking: no.


  • Meredith Town Docks: Downtown Meredith on Route 3 at the public parking lot. Fee: $20 in season. Trailer parking nearby, on left side of the Aubuchon Hardware lot.
  • A second town dock and ramp with parking is located at Shep Brown’s Boat Basin in Lovejoy Sands Rd. Fee: $20.

Center Harbor

  • Center Harbor public docks: Fee: $10. Parking nearby.


  • Moultonboro public ramp: Long Island. Moultonboro residents only.
  • Harilla Landing: From Route 25 and Moultonboro Neck Road, proceed 6.2 miles south/east on Moultonboro Neck Road and cross onto Long Island. After crossing bridge, proceed 2.2 miles on Long Island Road.
  • Lee’s Mills: From Moultonboro Center, proceed 0.4 miles south on Rt. 25. Turn Left onto Blake Road. At end of Blake Road, turn right onto Lee’s Mills Road and proceed to end. No fee.
  • States Landing: From the intersection of Route 109 and Route 25 (at the Moultonboro Airport), proceed south/east on Route 109 for 2.8 miles and turn right onto States Landing Road. Go 1.0 miles on States Landing Road. Nearest Bizer Dealer: The Old Country Store in downtown Moultonboro (to the north) or Ambrose Cove Marina (to the south).


  • Town pier and ramp: No fee. Parking 1/4 mile south on Rt. 109.
  • Melvin Village Public Landing: Route 109. No fee.


  • Alton Bay Town Ramp: 1/4 mile north of the Rt. 11 bridge. No fee. Public parking for trailers 1/2-mile away.
  • Alton Bay State Ramp: Formerly Downings Landing Marina, this ramp offers free launching and parking at the junction of Rtes. 11 and 28A.
  • Roberts Cove Basin: Fee: $15.
  • West Alton Marina. Jct. Rt. 11 and Rt. 11A. Fee: $15. Parking on-site.


  • Overnight anchoring is prohibited on Lake Winnipesaukee.


  • No information available. Contact town halls for local boating regulations.

Boat & Kayak Rental

Many marinas offer boat, canoe and kayak rentals, among them:


  • There are lots of places to shop for food and drink in the towns listed.

Getting Around

  • Many taxi and livery services for the Lake Winnipesaukee region are listed on the Internet.

Things to See & Do

  • Paddlesteamer Mount Washington (888-THE-MOUNT): Docked in Weirs Beach, this historic paddlesteamer gives tours of the lake. Named after the highest of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, “Old Mount” was launched in spring 1872 to carry mail, goods, and passengers on Lake Winnipesaukee, under the flag of the Boston and Maine Railroad. She makes 1 or 2 round-trips on the lake per day during the summer season, as well as numerous dinner dance cruises in the evenings.
  • Mailboat M/V Sophie C (603-366-5531): The M/V Sophie C is the oldest, and 1 of only 2 currently operating, floating United States Postal Service post offices. Floating post office service was started on Lake Winnipesaukee in 1892, and currently delivers mail daily to 8 of the lake’s islands between June and September. As a floating post office, the Sophie C delivers mail Monday-Saturday, sells postage, and collects and postmarks outgoing mail. The Sophie C also operates as a sightseeing boat, carrying up to 125 people on its 2 cruises a day as it delivers mail and sells ice cream and snacks to residents of the islands it serves.
  • Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad (603-279-5253)
  • Wright Museum of WW II History (603-569-1212): The museum’s mission is “to preserve and share the stories of America’s Greatest Generation for the benefit of generations to come.” The museum collects, cares for, and exhibits artifacts illustrating the heroic efforts of ordinary people living during extraordinary times in the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s.
  • Governor Wentworth Home Site (603-436-6607): A circa-1767 mansion built by the man who helped establish the town’s reputation a summer resort.
  • Weirs Beach Waterslide (603-366-5528)
  • Weirs Drive-In (603-366-4723): Throwback drive-in movie theater.
  • Center Harbor Town Band: Plays at the Center Harbor town gazebo on Friday nights. Call the town office (603-253-4561).
  • New Hampshire Boat Museum (603-569-4554): Located 2 miles from the center of Wolfeboro, the museum features many examples of vintage mahogany and antique boats on a rotating basis, including Gar Wood, Chris-Craft, Century, Dodge, Penn Yan, Lyman and Hacker. There are runabouts, raceboats, canoes, guide boats, and sail boats. Whether you are an outboard, steam, paddle or sail enthusiast, the displays, enhanced with archival photos, trophies and models, bring to life a truly grand era of boating.
  • Squam Lakes Natural Science Center (603-968-7194): Through spectacular live-animal exhibits, natural-science education programs and lake cruises, Squam Lakes Natural Science Center has educated and enlightened visitors for over 40 years. Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is located on Route 113 in Holderness, exit 24 off I-93. Open daily from May 1-November 1.
  • Stonedam Island (603-253-3301): Located in Meredith, Stonedam Island is a wildlife preserve that can be visited only by boat. Boats can access the island from a dock on the northeast cove; canoes and kayaks can put in near the docks as well. A visit to Stonedam can provide an enjoyable and educational experience for the entire family. A map of the site may be obtained by calling the LRCT information line.

Where to Eat


  • Garwood’s Restaurant (603-569-7788): Reasonably priced grill with a nice bar and a dock.
  • Love’s Quay (603-569-3303): Serves different appetizers and entrees daily. Slips available.
  • The Wolfetrap (603-569-8929): Fresh lobster and steamers in a casual atmosphere.

Weirs Beach

  • Weirs Beach Lobster Pound (603-366-2255): Barbecue sandwiches.
  • Weirs Beach Smokehouse Restaurant (603-366-2400): Smoked ribs and chicken.

Center Harbor


Where to Stay

There are lots of campgrounds, B&Bs, hotels, motels and cottages around Lake Winnipesaukee. Consult the local Chambers of Commerce for a complete listing.


Weirs Beach

Center Harbor


General Information