Boating Regulations

Reference (2022-23 NM Fishing Rules & Info, p. 34)

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 a New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division office.
  2. The vessel registration number must be affixed permanently to both sides of the vessel’s bow with block letters that measure 3 inches in height and are 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 must wear a personal flotation device at all times.
  5. Children 12 years and younger, must wear a personal flotation device while the vessel is underway.
  6. Vessels while operating must carry: a personal floatation device of good condition for each person on board; one USCG approved 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.
  7. 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: 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: Alto Lake, Bernardo Waterfowl Area, Jackson Lake, La Joya Waterfowl Area, McGaffey Lake, San Gregorio Lake and Shuree Ponds.
Waters restricted to boats with oars or electric motors include: Bear Canyon Lake, Bill Evans Lake, Conoco Lake, Fenton Lake, Green Meadow Lake, Grindstone Lake, Hopewell Lake, Lake Maloya, Lake Roberts, Morphy Lake, Quemado Lake, Snow Lake and Tucumcari Wildlife Area.
Waters where no boats or flotation devices are allowed include: Bonito Lake, Laguna del Campo, Monastery Lake, Oasis State Park, Red River Hatchery Pond, Tingley Beach and Trees Lake.
Waters restricted during fishing season to boats at trolling speeds only include: Charette Lakes, Cochiti Lake, Clayton Lake, Heron Lake, Maxwell Lakes 13 & 14, 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.