Water Sports

America�s public lakes, rivers, and seashores offer some of the best water for recreation on our continent. Enjoy scuba diving an underwater nature trail at a National Marine Sanctuary or body surfing at a national seashore.

In addition, some recreation sites offer on-site vendors who will rent equipment, including snorkeling gear, boats, canoes, and kayaks. Some sites offer tour packages through concessionaires.

Licensing, fees and seasonal restrictions vary from site to site; for more information on a particular watersport, please contact that site directly.

Find Recreation Areas with Water Sports Activities

What do we mean by Water Sports ?

RecML, the recreation standard that is being developed, describes water sports as:

waterskiing, surfing, scuba diving, visiting a beach, swimming in an outdoor pool, swimming in lakes and rivers

Practice Good Stewardship of our Waterways:

You can help to take good care of our lakes, rivers, and other waterways so that others may enjoy these areas for years to come by practicing some of the following actions:

Don't Litter... take along a trash bag or other receptacle for collecting your trash so that you can deposit it in the proper trash receptacle. Always use proper dumping stations.

Make sure that you operate the correct type of watercraft permitted in that area. Check with your destination ahead of time to ensure that the boat, canoe, or other watercraft you plan to use is allowed.

Pay attention to local procedures and cautions for cleaning your watercraft after you leave the water so that you don't facilitate the spread of nuisance species such as the Zebra Mussel to the next body of water you may visit with your boat or other watercraft.

Don't operate a boat or watercraft in areas where they are not permitted. These areas have been declared "off limits" to watercraft to protect wildlife, vegetation, or for your safety.

Safety While Boating:

  • Wear your personal floatation device (pfd) and make sure that your passengers wear theirs, too !
  • If operating a houseboat, be careful of carbon monoxide build-up around the boat. Also use caution around the electrical connections to the boat slip or dock.
  • Obey the posted speedlimits and wake warnings
  • Do not operate your watercraft on unauthorized waterways
  • Never consume alcohol while operating a watercraft
  • Bring along extra safety items such as water, flashlights, maps, and a cellphone or radio
Photo-Water Sports
photo courtesy of the Army Corps of Engineers water skiing at Saylorville Lake
Discover and reserve camping, lodging, permits, tours and more at America's parks, forests, monuments and other public lands with Recreation.gov. Learn more about us, or about any of our agency partners below:
Bureau of Land Management Federal Highway Administration National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration Smithsonian Institution USDA Forest Service US Army Corps of Engineers US Fish and Wildlife Service National Park Service Bureau of Engraving and Printing Tennessee Valley Authority Bureau of Reclamation National Archives Records Administration