Boating Safety

Reminders for Lake Hastings Boaters:

  • All boat operators must show proof of completion of a Nebraska-approved boating safety course.
  • All boats must display a current Lake Hastings boat permit. Permits are available at Park & Recreation Office at 2015 W 3rd St. The cost for Adams County residents is $7.00/day or $35/year. Non-resident permits are $150/year with no daily option.
  • You must be 14 to operate a boat on Lake Hastings. You must be 16 to operate a boat over 10hp, unless under direct supervision of an adult at least 21 years of age.
  • All boats must go in a counter-clockwise direction.
  • All boats must obey the 35 MPH speed limit.
  • All boats must obey all federal and state equipment requirements (PFDs, fire extinguishers, etc.)
  • All boats must obey all state laws and regulations regarding operation.

For more information on boating laws, visit the Nebraska Game and Parks Boating Site or download the 2007 Lake Hastings Boating Information Flyer.

Information contained in this brochure is current as of January 2007. Please note that legislation pending in the 98th Legislature, First Session of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature may change Nebraska law before the 2003 boating season. Please stay informed of any changes that may supercede information listed in this brochure. This brochure is not a complete list of all law and regulations. For complete information, consult the Hastings City Code, Nebraska Revised State Statutes Chapter 37, and Title 163 of the Nebraska Administrative Code.


Boating Education Testing and Class Sessions

Boating Safety Instruction Manuals are available at the Hastings Police Department. Any person over 18 years of age may take a proctored test at the Hastings Police Department at no fee. For information on other Boating Basics classes in the area and state, visit the Boating Class page of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission web site.


LB 305

The Nebraska Legislature passed LB 305, containing numerous changes to Nebraska's Game and Parks laws, including several changes to the State Boat Act.

The changes include:

  • Making the Nebraska boating age of 14 part of statute, not just regulation.
  • Extending the current boating education requirement to include all boaters under 18.
  • Prohibiting 14- and 15-year olds from pulling a person (skier, tuber, etc.) behind a boat.
  • Prohibiting personal watercraft from jumping the wake of any other vessel within 50 yards.
  • Prohibiting personal watercraft from jumping the wake of any vessel with a person in tow (skier, tuber, etc.)

There are also several changes to accident reporting, registration funding, and boat registration procedures.

Most of the boating portions of the bill, originally known as LB 348, were drafted by Senator Phil Erdman of Bayard. Seventeen year old Samantha Rader was tragically killed July 5, 2002 at Bridgeport State Lakes when she was struck by a 14-year old on a personal watercraft. The 14-year old Colorado resident who hit Samantha was operating illegally.

LB 305 also will set a maximum noise level for boats at 94 decibels at 100 feet away when the boat in on plane. This bill was originally LB 74, and will not affect most boats that have not modified their muffling systems.

The changes took effect when Governor Johanns signed the bill. All boaters under 16 must meet the education requirement immediately. Boaters who are 16- and 17-years old must have the education beginning January 1, 2004.

Effective 01-01-2012 any motorboat operator born after 12-31-1985 must complete a boater safety training course and have proof of completion of that course while operating a motor boat or PWC.

The changes to the age restriction and education requirements will not be noticed by most users of Lake Hastings, where the minimum boating age is already 16 for any boat over 10 horsepower and ordinances already require boating education for all boaters, regardless of age. The local ordinances are more restrictive than state law and have improved safety on Lake Hastings, which has fewer than 70 surface acres available to boating.

The new laws regarding the jumping of wakes by personal watercraft will apply at Lake Hastings and help regulate what can be a dangerous activity by those craft.

Any boater who uses lake Hastings, or a boater under 18 who plans to boat elsewhere in Nebraska will need to complete the Nebraska Boating Safety course, or have completed an approved course in another state.