All Getmyboat operators are required to and are responsible for operating legally within and fully compliant of local guidelines — this includes obtaining proper registrations, passes, permits, etc., meeting vessel and captain requirements, using the correct docks and boating areas for commercial activities, and any other stipulations by your local laws and facility regulations.  

To help, we’ve gathered the following essential details for boating in Lake Norman.

The new regulations for charter boats on Lake Norman, effective as of  January 2023, aim to enhance public safety and ensure compliance with federal, state, and local laws. Boat owners must obtain a Charter Boat Permit, maintain appropriate insurance coverage, and have a qualified Captain. Compliance with regulations, equipment requirements, and restrictions on sites and operations are also essential. It is crucial for charter boat operators to familiarize themselves with the regulations and requirements to operate legally on Lake Norman.

Charter Boat Permit:

A permit is mandatory for all charter boats operating on Lake Norman. This permit should be prominently displayed on the vessel for easy visibility to passengers. The permits have specified validity periods and necessitate annual renewal by April 1st. Law enforcement officers might request to review the Charter Boat Permit.Owners of charter boats must submit a Charter Boat Permit application. Alongside this application, ensure to include an updated version of your Operation Plan. This should also include a letter from the marina where passengers will board and granting permission for docking your boat there. Each boat must undergo inspection by a certified vessel inspector designated by the Lake Norman Marine Commission. Possessing a Certificate of Liability Insurance is required, with the Lake Norman Marine Commission listed as the Certificate Holder.

A fee is linked to each permit application, covering inspection and permit expenses. Permit fees are as follows:

  • $275 for gasoline-powered vessels
  • $250 for diesel-powered vessels
  • $200 for non-gas or diesel-powered vessels
  • For boats carrying six passengers or fewer that do not require inspection, the fee is $50.

Minimum Requirements for Charter Boat Owners:

  • Liability Insurance: Owners must provide proof of commercial liability insurance with specific coverage requirements.
  • Charter Boat Inspection: Vessels carrying more than 6 passengers must provide evidence of a successful inspection.
  • Captains: Each Captain operating a Charter Boat must hold a valid U.S. Coast Guard license.
  • Boarding Location: Permission must be obtained from the owner of the location where passengers embark and disembark.
  • Other Sites and Operations: Owners must agree to certain restrictions, including mooring and cruising speed regulations.

More information on charter boat requirements can be found Here.

Boat Requirements:

  • Radar: Charter boats must possess radar, except those exclusively operating during daylight hours.
  • Passenger Weight Limit: Charter boats must adhere to weight limit requirements per United States Coast Guard regulations.
  • Manifest: Every Charter Boat must create and retain a Manifest for each charter.
  • Inspection and Display: Charter boats carrying six or fewer paying passengers may be exempt from inspection but must display a valid Charter Boat Permit.

Equipment Requirements:

  • Lights: Specific lighting configurations are required based on boat type and operation.
  • Personal Flotation Devices: Each person on board must have a wearable PFD meeting specified types.
  • Fire Extinguisher: The boat should have an appropriately sized fire extinguisher.
  • Whistle or Sound-producing Device: A sound-producing device, such as a whistle, must be readily available.

Pick up / Drop off locations:

  • McCrary Creek Access Area
  • Queens Landing Boat Ramp
  • Hager Creek Access Area
  • Little Creek Access Area
  • Beatty’s Ford Access

A mandatory Boater Safety and Education Course must be completed by operators born after January 1st, 1988. This course can be obtained at

For more information or inquiries, you can contact the Lake Norman Marine Commission via email at or by calling 704-564-6333.

Starting in January 2024, the Marine Commission will begin permitting rental boats. Any boat intended for rental must obtain a rental boat permit, which involves meeting safety equipment requirements, having liability insurance, and offering renter training.Further details can be accessed here.

Additional Resources:

  • To obtain a USCG captain license you can reach out to our partner Mariners Learning System.  Use the promo code GETMYBOAT10 for 10% off all products.
  • You can also use our partner Boat Charter Insurance to obtain a commercial insurance policy