Few things show off what’s special about Alabama like a weekend trip to the lake. Whether you’re looking for scenic views, rowdy fun or some old-fashioned Southern hospitality, there’s something for everyone along Alabama’s shorelines. If you’re a little overwhelmed by the idea of your first trip out, don’t worry: Shorelines’ Start-Up Kit is here to help you experience the lakes like a pro.

Temperatures in Alabama have already reached 90 degrees, which can only mean one thing: Summer is here. With the water heating up and the warm weather fun beginning, we have some basics of lake etiquette and rules to help you enjoy the lakes safely this summer.

Stay safe on the water.

  • Speed is the most mentioned factor in all boating accidents (boats don’t have brakes, after all). So, keep your speed under control and anticipate upcoming needs to properly control your boat.
  • Always stay to the right when approaching oncoming traffic and take great care when overtaking another boat.
  • When entering into the creek or river channel, look for oncoming traffic and keep your speed under control. Your wake can disrupt shore vegetation and other people’s enjoyment in smaller channels.
  • Remember, non-motorized boats have the right of way.
  • You are always responsible for your wake.


Keep it simple when launching your boat.

Launching your boat at a public boat ramp can be a little intimidating, especially on a crowded weekend, but there are a few ways to keep the process safe and easy.

  • When entering the parking area of the boat ramp, do not pull directly into the boat launching line. Find an open spot in the parking lot or an open area where you can prepare your vessel for launching without affecting the flow of traffic. This is the best place to remove straps and the transom saver, and also to load the boat with all the items you need for the day.
  • Remember that dock space is usually limited, so after launching the boat, tie up to the dock only long enough to pick up any passengers and then move away.
  • Upon returning to the launch after a great day on the water, repeat the process, only in reverse. After loading the boat on the trailer, pull into a parking spot or open area and prepare the boat and trailer for traveling.


Be courteous when searching for a fishing spot.

  • Fishing is usually better in low-light conditions — the first couple of hours of the morning or the last couple in the afternoon. During this time, the fish are cruising the shallow water looking for an easy meal, and they are easier to catch. Also, the lake is not as crowded.
  • Be stealthy on your approach to your fishing spot. The speed of sound travels 4.3 times faster in the water than in air, so a little noise travels fast, which becomes a big deal when fishing.
  • It’s first come, first served. Be courteous to other fishermen and people enjoying the water by not crowding anyone — there is plenty of water out there. Even if they are in your favorite fishing spot, wait your turn.
  • Some of the best spots are close to shore. If possible, keep your distance from others when traveling down the waterway. People along the shore may also be fishing, swimming or simply enjoying a bit of peace and quiet, and your wake can disrupt their activities.


For more information:

  • Rules and regulations from Outdoor Alabama, click here.
  • Take steps to get your boating license

For a list of coordinates to great fishing spots around our state’s lakes, download the Shorelines app.

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