Messer Pond Water Safety


In an Emergency Situation call the State Marine Patrol  at (603) 293-2037 or (877) 642-9700


Click Above for Full Guide


It's the Law: Before Going Out on Your Vessel

Who May Operate a Vessel:


~ A vessel powered by 25 horsepower or less may be operated by a person of any age and does not require a Safe Boater Education Certificate.

~ A “ski craft” (vessel less than 13 ft. long that is capable of exceeding 20 miles per hour and has the capacity to carry no more than an operator and one other person) may be operated only by persons who are 16 years old or older and who have a valid Safe Boater Education Certificate as required by the schedule below.

~ A vessel powered by more than 25 horsepower (other than a “ski craft”) may be operated by:

~ A person under 16 years of age only if he or she is accompanied by a person 18 years old or older who has a valid Safe Boater Education Certificate. The accompanying person is responsible for any injury or damage caused during operation of the vessel.

~ A person 16 years of age or older only if he or she has obtained a Safe Boater Education Certificate as required by the schedule below (see handbook.)

A Safe Boater Education Certificate:

~ May be obtained only by persons 16 years old or older.

~ Must be awarded by a boating safety course or equivalency exam approved by the New Hampshire Marine Patrol or a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators approved course from another state.

~ Must be carried onboard.

Note: Ski Craft are not allowed on Messer Pond.  "Operation of a “ski craft” is prohibited on any pond or lake less than 75 acres in area."  Messer Pond is only 67 acres.


The following are excerpts from the Boater's Guide:

Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)

All vessels must carry one wearable (Type I, II, III or V) USCG–approved life jacket (PFD) for each person on board.  Type V PFDs must be worn to be acceptable. All life jackets must be in good and serviceable condition and must be readily accessible.  The life jackets must be of the proper size for the intended wearer.  Sizing for life jackets is based on body weight and chest size and can be determined by the manufacturer’s label.


In addition to the above requirements, vessels 16 feet in length or longer (except canoes and kayaks) must have one Type IV USCG–approved throwable PFD on board and immediately available.


Revised Law: Children 12 years of age and younger must wear a USCG–approved life jacket at all times while underway on a vessel, unless the vessel is completely enclosed by railings at least 3 feet high and constructed such that a small child cannot fall through.  It is strongly recommended that children of all ages wear their life jackets.

Each person being towed behind a vessel must wear a USCG–approved life jacket.


Unlawful and Dangerous Operation

New Hampshire law states that the following dangerous practices are also illegal:


Failure to Follow the Navigational Rules is not observing the navigational rules described on pages 8-9.  In addition, it is unlawful to:

Unsafe Passage is not maintaining a proper speed or distance while operating a vessel or while towing a person on water-skis or any similar device.  Specifically, it is illegal to:

Swimmers in the water

Other vessels

Rafts or floats

Permitted swimming areas

Docks or mooring fields

The shoreline

 "Headway Speed” - The slowest speed at which it is still possible to maintain steering or 6 miles per hour 

Riding on the Bow, Gunwales or Transom is allowing passengers to ride on a vessel in places where there may be a chance of falling overboard while underway.  This includes passengers straddling the bow, or riding on the gunwales or transom.


Overloading is defined as loading the vessel with gear or passengers beyond its safe carrying capacity, taking into consideration weather and other operating conditions.



Enforcement of boating laws and regulations is the responsibility of the New Hampshire Marine Patrol officers.  Boaters must stop when signaled to do so by a law enforcement officer.  These officers have full police powers and have the right to lawfully stop and board your vessel at any time to check for compliance with federal and state laws.


Marine Patrol Headquarters, Division of State Police

31 Dock Road
Gilford, NH 03249
(603) 293-2037
Toll-free: 877-642-9700


Other Contact Info:





Messer Pond Protective Association

P.O. Box 103

New London, NH 03257


Copyright © 2005 - 2014 by Messer Pond Protective Association


 Website Comments or Suggestions