For over 50 years an unresolved issue has existed concerning the interplay of two Indiana statutes that create the public’s right to use Indiana’s public lakes for recreational purposes.
To resolve this issue, on May 21, 2014, the Indiana Natural Resources Commission issued an order which determined that under the prevailing statute, IC 14-15-3-17, the only motorboat operations which are permitted within 200 feet of the shoreline are trolling or approaching or leaving a dock.
As a result, it has now been affirmatively determined that all other boating activities within 200 feet of the shoreline, including anchoring, are a violation of Indiana statute.
With this determination by the NRC, enforcement of the limiting provisions will now be appropriate. The legislature has provided that violation by boaters of the limits on their activities is a Class C infraction.
Owners of shoreline are now permitted to place buoy markers approximately 175 feet from the shoreline which state, “Anchoring within 200 feet of the shoreline is illegal.” No permit from the Department of Natural Resources is required for the placement of buoys containing this language on any of the public lakes in Indiana.
The resolution of this issue by the Natural Resources Commission will now serve to protect normal activities which occur within 200 feet of the shoreline, such as swimming, fishing from the shore or a pier and other lakefront activities. The safety of both property owners and boaters will be enhanced by this ruling.