Boaters traveling in Deep Creek Lake, the Bohemia River, the Elk and Northeast Rivers and tributaries, and the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake & Delaware (C&D) Canal must adhere to recently updated boat noise regulations. The State is providing citizens with free tests to determine if their boat is within the legal limit.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) established the regulations, which went into effect November 28, 2011, because of increasing citizen concern in these areas. These locations feature high banks and bluffs that magnify noise and carry it over long distances, accounting for more than 50 percent of boat noise complaints statewide.
New for this summer, the regulations prohibit boats with mufflers and muffler cut-out systems from exceeding the following noise levels.
For engines manufactured before January 1, 1993, the noise level may not exceed 90 decibels (a).
Those manufactured on or after January 1, 1993, the noise level may not exceed 88 decibels (a).
Boats manufactured after January 1990 must operate with a continuous muffler system and and may not operate a device that bypasses, reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of a muffler or noise suppression device or system.
The full regulation is located in COMAR 08.18.03 and may be accessed from the Maryland Division of State Documents website: Vessel Noise Regulations.
The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) will be conducting courtesy tests so boaters may determine if their vessel meets regulation guidelines. The test is done at idle, with all engines running and at the loudest level with any bypass device engaged, and is not a law enforcement action. Participants with boats that are over the noise limit will only be advised of the decibel output. Testing dates, times and locations are being scheduled and will be listed at dnr.state.md.us/boating/ and dnr.state.md.us/nrp/.
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