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West Harbor Pond is a relatively small pond by Maine standards, and the effects of motorized watercraft are more pronounced than they would be on a larger body of water, with the potential to endanger wildlife and swimmers and to promote erosion of the shoreline.

To protect bodies of water like West Harbor Pond, Maine laws place certain restrictions on motorized watercraft, two of which are particularly relevant to us. First, motors of more than 10 horsepower are prohibited on West Harbor Pond. Second, on all bodies of water, inland and offshore, watercraft may not be operated “at greater than ’headway speed’ (‘the slowest speed at which it is still possible to maintain steering and control of the watercraft’) while within 200 feet of any shoreline, including islands.”

An important benefit of the 200-foot rule is the protection of nesting loons. In 2022, for the first time in recent memory, a pair of loons successfully nested and raised a chick on West Harbor Pond. Loons build their nests close to the water and just above the waterline. As such, their nests are particularly vulnerable to being washed away by the wake of a boat.

Erosion is the single greatest threat to the water quality of an inland body of water like West Harbor Pond, and the 200-foot rule offers some protection against this problem.

This map indicates where on West harbor Pond motorboat speeds would be generally unrestricted (barring swimmers, paddle-boats, etc.) using the 200’ rule. This area is marked in pink on the map.

For more information and as a very good general reference on boating in Maine, download the brochure Boater's Guide to Maine Laws and Responsibilities.

© 2024 by West Harbor Pond Watershed Association.

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