View the Fishing, Boating, and Water Sports Regulations Brochure
- General regulation: Operation of watercraft at such a rate of speed as to create a hazardous wake or wash upon approaching or passing watercraft or upon other watercraft, shores, dams, docks, or other structures is prohibited. Watercraft operators are responsible for any damage caused by their watercraft’s wake.
- Children 12 and younger may not operate a watercraft powered by more than 10 horsepower except under the direct and audible supervision of a parent, guardian, or other person 17 or older.
- Operation of a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
is prohibited. Arkansas law, pursuant to alcoholic beverages and open containers, applies to watercraft and motor vehicles. The Bella Vista lakes have a zero-tolerance policy regarding alcoholic beverages.
- Operation of watercraft at a speed exceeding 5 mph “idle speed” is prohibited within 100 feet of a designated recreation area, dock, pier, raft, float, kayak, boat, shoreline, dam intake structure, or other obstruction.
- Swimmers are encouraged to stay in no-wake zones. Wake zones can be hazardous for swimming, including swimming near a moored/floating watercraft or with a flotation device near a moored/floating watercraft. Swimming and other activities in a wake zone where watercraft can travel at speed are inherently dangerous. Such activity is recommended to take place in no-wake zones of the lakes. No-wake zones include areas 100 feet from the shoreline, plus certain designated lakes and coves. This recommendation does not apply to water skiers, wake surfers, or those towed behind a watercraft on a tube or other towable equipment.
- Wake boats –
- The operation of a watercraft with the intention of creating an enlarged wake is prohibited, and the use of which will not be allowed on any Bella Vista POA lake except for Loch Lomond, Lake Windsor, and Lake Ann.
- Operation of a watercraft with the intention of creating an enlarged wake is prohibited within 200 feet of a designated recreation area, dock, pier, raft, float, kayak, boat, shoreline, dam intake structure or other obstruction.
- Provided the watercraft complies with the above two regulations when operating a watercraft with the intention of creating an enlarged wake,
if the watercraft uses a wedge or other similar device to create an enlarged wake, the wedge (or other similar devices) must be positioned to direct the enlarged wake toward the center of the lake.
- Those operating a watercraft with the intention of creating an enlarged wake must operate their watercraft in a counterclockwise rotation within the areas designated for this type of activity.
- The definition of wake boating includes, but is not limited to, the following: the use of devices, equipment or placement of passengers onboard for the purpose of creating an enlarged wake; devices and equipment used to create an enlarged wake include, but are not limited to exterior panels, wings, or wedges deployed underwater; rubberized, plastic or metal tanks, chests or bags filled with any material; crowding of passengers to the rear; inside-the-hull water tanks; or boat hulls explicitly designed to enhance the wake.
- Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) –
- All watercraft must have at least one U.S. Coast Guard-approved wearable PFD (life jacket) for each person on board.
- In addition to the above requirement, one U.S. Coast Guard-approved throwable PFD must be on board 16 feet or longer board watercraft.
- Children 12 years old and younger must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD securely fastened to their persons at all times while on any watercraft.
- Each person being towed or surfing behind a watercraft on water skis, an aquaplane, wakeboard, or other devices must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD.
- Besides being U.S. Coast Guard-approved, all PFDs must be:
- In good and serviceable condition.
- Readily accessible, which means you are able to put the PFD on quickly in an emergency.
- Of the proper size for the intended wearer. Sizing for PFDs is based on body weight and chest size.
8. Operation of any watercraft, water skis, wakeboards, or similar devices recklessly or negligently that endangers any person, shore, or structure is prohibited. If you see a problem, please report it immediately.
- To report violations or request a POA Lakes & Parks Ranger, call (479) 876-9581 . POA Lakes & Parks Rangers are vested with final authority for interpreting and enforcing these watercraft regulations.
- After hours, contact the Bella Vista Police Department at (479) 855-3771 or (479) 855-8030.
- To report any Arkansas Game and Fish Commission violations, call (800) 482-9262 or the Bella Vista Police Department at (479) 855-3771 or (479) 855-8030.
- For lakes and parks information, contact the Lakes and Parks Department at (479) 855-5068.
Thank you for helping preserve our POA lakes and parks and acting courteously and responsibly toward fellow POA Members and their guests.