Boating Regulations

Basic Regulations

  1. All motorized and sail-powered vessels 10 feet or longer in length require a title. All motorized vessels of any length must be registered. Title and registration must be obtained from the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division (NMMVD or MVD) online. Toll-free: 1-888-MVD-INFO or by visiting your local office.
    2. The vessel registration number must be affixed permanently to both sides of the vessel’s bow with block letters that are 3-inch tall and clearly visible. A valid registration decal must be placed on the port side 6 inches behind/aft the registration number.
    3. Proof of boater education must be carried by all operators born on or after January 1, 1989.
    4. All persons in canoes, kayaks or rafts, as well as children 12 years and younger, must wear a personal flotation device at all times.
    5. Vessels while operating must carry: a life jacket of good condition for each person on board; one USCG throwable device; oar/paddle, bailing bucket and stout rope at least one boat length; whistle/horn, fire extinguisher and navigation lights if operating at night. Vessels may be inspected for required equipment.
    6. Boating while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is prohibited and strictly enforced.

For additional information and boating-safety classes offered statewide by the New Mexico State Parks Division visit online or telephone toll-free: 1-888-NMPARKS.

* Wear your personal flotation device! The majority of anglers who drown were not.
* Use caution when a red flag is displayed above a stopped boat! It indicates a water skier is down in that area.
* Clean, drain and dry your boat and gear to stop aquatic invasive species (see below).

Stop Aquatic Aliens

Waters with Special Restrictions

Waters restricted to boats without motors include: Bernardo Waterfowl Area, Grindstone Reservoir, La Joya Waterfowl Area, San Gregorio Lake and Shuree Ponds.
Waters restricted to boats with oars or electric motors include: Bear Canyon Lake, Lake Maloya, Bill Evans Lake, Lake Roberts, Fenton Lake, Morphy Lake, Green Meadow Lake, Quemado Lake, Hopewell Lake, Snow Lake, Jackson Lake and Tucumcari Wildlife Area.
Waters where no boats or flotation devices are allowed include: Bonito Lake, Red River Hatchery Pond, Laguna del Campo, Tingley Beach, Monastery Lake and Oasis State Park.
Waters restricted during fishing season to boats at trolling speeds only include: Charette Lakes, Both, Cochiti Lake, Clayton Lake, Maxwell Lakes 13 & 14, Heron Lake and Springer Lake when water level is less than 1,000 acre feet.

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Personnel

NMDGF personnel and persons authorized by the NMDGF Director may while performing duties use motor boats on all lakes where use may be prohibited otherwise.