Boating and Recreation

Lake Whatcom offers many opportunities for boating, swimming, and playing. With this use comes the potential to adversely affect water quality and to impact the people and wildlife that depend on the lake.

Clean, Drain, Dry

Clean, drain, and dry your boat and recreational equipment before entering or leaving the lake to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Learn more about the City’s Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) program.


  • Remove ALL aquatic plants, animals, and mud
  • Thoroughly wash everything


  •  Drain water from your boat, trailer, tackle and gear before leaving the area, including wells, bilge, and engine cooling water


  • Allow a minimum of 5 days for your boat to dry before launching into other waters
  • If you cannot perform these steps, have your boat professionally cleaned with high-pressure hot water (more than 140°F) before launching into other waters

Do NOT release pets, bait, aquatic plants, or aquarium water into the wild

Boating Rules

  • Carbureted two-stroke engines are prohibited on Lake Whatcom
  • Do NOT transport any plants or animals to or from Lake Whatcom
  • Follow Speed limits:
    • 6mph at all times if you are within 300 feet of docks and the shore, or within 100 feet of a swimmer, diver, or any non-motorized boat
    • Night: 8mph from 30 min after sunset to 30 min before sunrise
    • Day: 40mph in unrestricted areas 30 min before sunrise to 30 min after sunset
  • Right-of-way Rules:
    • You must give way to swimmers, divers, and fallen skiers
    • You must give way to any non-motorized watercraft including: sailboats, rowboats, canoes, and kayaks
  • Life jackets are required to be on board for each passenger and must be worn by children under the age of 7 at all times
  • Age Restrictions:
    • You must be at least 10 years old to operate a motorized watercraft up to 10 HP without an adult on board
    • You must be at least 16 years old to operate a motorized watercraft with a motor greater than 10 HP

More Information