Potter's Lake Boating Safety Rules

Boating / PWC Safety Rules (summary)

Town of East Troy & Potter Lake
All laws are enforced by Town of East Troy police officers who may stop any boat for purposes of enforcement and/or inspection. Violations are punishable by fines, jail, or both.
No Littering On Land Or Water... $200 Fine

All boats 12’ in length or greater must be registered with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and have such numbers displayed as required.

Speed Limits

Speeds are limited to 10 miles per hour from sunrise to 10:00 a.m. and from 7:00 p.m. to sunset on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

Daily - after sunset, slow / no-wake. (“Slow-no-wake” means the slowest possible speed so as to maintain steerage.)

At all other times, speeds will be reasonable and prudent with regard for the conditions existing at the time.

SLOW - NO WAKE within 200 feet of shore or within 100 feet of piers, rafts, buoyed restricted areas and anchored boats.

Personal watercraft (PWC) follow the same rules as motorboats except SLOW – NO WAKE within 200 feet of shore, piers, rafts, buoyed restricted areas and anchored boats and no operation from sunset to sunrise.

Right of Way

Boats / PWC’s may not be operated within 100 feet of another boat or person being towed.

All boats / PWC must navigate in a counter-clockwise direction on weekends and holidays.

Boats to the right have the right-of-way. Pass to the right. Motorboats must yield to non-motorized boats.


All boats must have one approved personal floatation device (PFD) per person, regardless of length. All boats more than 16’ must have a throwable device (Type IV). All persons riding a PWC must wear a PFD.

All boats should carry a first aid kit, a distress signal and an oar or paddle.

It is unlawful to operate any boat beyond the safe carrying capacity of passengers or cargo.

No sitting on the sides, front deck, or top of seat backs while the motorboat is in operation (moving).

No swimming beyond SLOW – NO WAKE zones unless accompanied by a boat.


All motorboats must have approved mufflers and battery covers.

All enclosed inboard and inboard / outboard motorboats must have a fire extinguisher, flame arrestor and bilge ventilator.

All boats must have and use approved lights from sunset to sunrise.

Boats with cooking or sleeping facilities are not allowed on the lake from sunset to sunrise, nor on weekends or holidays.

Age Restrictions

No person under the age of 10 years may operate a motorboat.

No person under 12 may operate a PWC.

Persons at least 10 but less than 16 years of age may operate a motorboat (except PWC) only if they are accompanied (aboard the same boat) by a parent or designated guardian (over 18) or if they have successfully completed a DNR prescribed Boating Safety Course and possess a safety certificate.

Persons at least 12 years of age may operate a PWC if they have successfully completed a DNR prescribed Boating Safety Course and possess a safety certificate.

Persons born on or after 1-1-1989 and at least 16 years of age MUST have successfully completed a DNR prescribed Boating Safety Course and possess a safety certificate.

Laws regarding operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated apply to motorboats / PWCs too. Don’t drink and drive!

Water Sport Activities


Water sport activities include, but are not limited to, the use of: water skis, wakeboard, tube, kneeboard, aquaplane or similar device.

Times Allowed

Weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to sunset (as defined by the U.S. weather service).

Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

No double towing on weekends and holidays.


Both boat and person being towed must operate more than 200 feet from shore and more than 100 feet from piers, rafts, buoyed restricted areas and anchored boats.

A boat or PWC towing a person on water ski’s, a surfboard, or other device must have another competent person besides the driver to act as an observer unless the vessel is equipped with a wide-angle rearview mirror.

All persons engaged in water sport activities must wear an approved (Type III) personal flotation device.

All boating / PWC regulations apply while persons are being towed.

Boating / Watersports Rules (pdf)

Help Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!

Clean Boats Clean Waters

Clean Boats Clean Waters is a DNR sponsored program designed to help prevent the spread of invasive species. The district has participated in the program for over 20 years which is partially funded with grant money. We try and staff the launch at higher traffic times checking boats and trailers for weeds before launching and again when leaving. The workers collect data from each boater which is then put into a data base to help with reducing the spread of invasives from lake to lake.

Watercraft Check Points

  • Anchor
  • Axle
  • Bait Bucket
  • Bow Line
  • Bunks
  • Fishing Line
  • Floor
  • Hull
  • Intake Pipe
  • Ladder
  • Landing Net
  • License Plate
  • Lights / Wiring
  • Live Well
  • Motor
  • Prop
  • Rollers
  • Spare Tire
  • Tackle
  • Tow Rope
  • Trailer
  • Transducer
  • Transom Well
  • Trolling Motor
  • Wheels

More information can be found at the following link:

Check the following web sites for lists and maps of Wisconsin waters known to contain:

Zebra mussels: dnr.wi.gov/topic/invasives/fact/zebra.html

Eurasian Water-milfoil: dnr.wi.gov/topic/invasives/fact/eurasianwatermilfoil.html