Lake Geneva is a popular tourist destination in the southeastern corner of Wisconsin. It is the largest lake in the state and is known for its scenic beauty, charming towns, and abundant recreational activities. Commercial boating on Lake Geneva is a thriving industry, with a variety of businesses offering boat rentals, tours, and other services.
Every Getmyboat operator must adhere to and take responsibility for lawful operation in strict accordance with local regulations. This involves acquiring appropriate registrations, licenses, permits, meeting both vessel and captain criteria, utilizing designated docks and approved commercial boating zones, as well as adhering to any additional rules stipulated by local laws and facility guidelines. To assist with this, we've compiled crucial information for boating on Lake Geneva.
Any motorized boats or sailboats exceeding 12 feet in size utilized in Lake Geneva are mandated to be registered with the DNR. Boats without motors or sailboats of 12 feet or less are exempt from registration. Upon registration, a certificate will be provided, which must be visibly exhibited on the vessel whenever it is in operation on Wisconsin waters. More information can be found on the DNR website.
Boat Safety Certificate:
The Wisconsin Boat Safety Certificate is required for those born after January 1, 1989, aiming to operate motorboats or personal watercraft in Wisconsin. It confirms the completion of a boater safety course, validating the necessary skills for safe boating.
USCG Captain's License:
A valid US Coast Guard (USCG) license is essential for operating commercial boats on Lake Geneva, with the specific type contingent upon the nature of the commercial activity. For example, managing a charter boat requires a USCG Merchant Mariner's License with a Boatswain's Mate - Operate Small Passenger Vessel Endorsement, while overseeing a tour boat demands a USCG Master's License with a Passenger Vessel Endorsement. More information can be found on the Mariners Learning System website. Use the code GETMYBOAT10 to receive a 10% discount.
For boat rental purposes, obtaining commercial boat insurance is vital. This insurance safeguards you in situations involving boat damage or injuries to users. While we collaborate with Boat Charter Insurance, there are other companies available to help you secure appropriate coverage for your needs.
Passenger Pick Up/ Drop Off:
Several locations permit boat drop-offs and pickups for rentals, and here are a few with designated passenger areas. Prior to confirming your plans, ensure you verify the pickup and drop-off policies with the marina or dock.
- Fontana Boat Ramp: Located at 200 Lake St, Fontana-On-Geneva Lake, WI 53125,
- Williams Bay Boat Launch Located at 41 E Geneva St, Williams Bay, WI 53191,
Additional Permits and Licenses:
Apart from the listed permits, commercial boats might need further permits based on their intended activities. Please reach out to the Town of Geneva and the WI DNR for assistance in identifying the necessary permits.
- Commercial Boat Launch Permit:
- Commercial vessels departing from Lake Geneva require a specific launch permit for commercial use. This permit needs liability insurance naming the Town of Geneva as additionally insured. To obtain the permit, applicants must submit evidence of insurance, show a substantial local business presence, and demonstrate the availability of capable staff. For further inquiries, please call (262)248-8497.
- Commercial Boat Permit:
- In order to acquire a commercial boat license from the City of Lake Geneva, you need to fill out and deliver a General License Application to the City Clerk's Office. Additionally, you must submit a copy of your current Wisconsin boat registration and pay the required fee. For any inquiries, please reach out to the City Clerk's office at (262) 248-3673.
- Commercial Fishing License:
- Those intending to conduct commercial fishing activities within the state must acquire a commercial fishing license from the DNR. Various types of licenses are offered, tailored to the specific fishing methods and targeted species.
- Business License:
Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention:
Lake Geneva enforces particular measures to prevent aquatic invasive species from affecting its waters. To safeguard against these harmful organisms, all individuals engaging in boating, paddling, or fishing must adhere to the following guidelines:
- Prior to launching and after loading, thoroughly examine your boat, trailer, and gear to eliminate any attached aquatic plants or animals.
- Remove drain plugs and ensure all water-holding compartments are open to prevent water retention.
- Completely drain water from your boat, motor, and equipment.
- Keep drain plugs removed and livewells/bait compartments open until your next boat launch.
- Refrain from transporting live fish from one body of water to another.
- Properly dispose of unwanted bait in the trash and acquire minnows exclusively from Wisconsin-based bait dealers.
Specific regulations are in place for boats arriving from out of state or other bodies of water within Wisconsin. These vessels must undergo inspection by a watercraft inspector from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) before being authorized for launch in Lake Geneva.