Lake Winnipesaukee is a boaters paradise. It's the largest lake in the state, with seventy two square miles of clear blue water set against a backdrop of rolling hills and mountains. Enjoy wide open areas for satisfying your need for speed and numerous quiet coves and sheltered areas for exploring and lounging around. For all its splendor, Winnipesaukee is not the only paradise in town; it's just one of 273. There are many places that offer boat rentals or jet ski rentals, or places to launch your own boat. You can also sit back and relax while taking a guided tour aboard a cruise vessel such as the Mt. Washington. This article will break down your options!
For those who will be renting a boat, you must have a NH safe boating certificate or hold a hold a NASBLA approved certificate from another state if renting a boat with a motor in excess of 25 horsepower. If you don't have a certificate, the place you're renting from will probably administer a quick exam on site to obtain a 14-day Temporary Certificate. Boat rental fleets are limited, so you should definitely call ahead to discuss your needs and make sure everything is in order.
First time on Winnipesaukee?
If you are new to boating on Lake Winnipesaukee, your first step is to get a navigational chart and a good GPS. The lake is broken up by hundreds of islands of every size and shape, scattered around at random. If you want to meander around and explore, or lounge in a quiet cove, this is your lake. However, with such a uniquely shaped lake, it's easy to become quite disoriented and lost. Bizer currently offers what many consider to be the best chart of Lake Winnipesaukee and you should have one on board at all times. The chart will also help you steer clear of the other hidden risks. Like all lakes, Lake Winnipesaukee has its fair share of shallows and areas with rocks hidden just beneath the surfuce. It's important to know the current lake level, which has a seasonal fluctuation of as much as three feet, and your boats draft, when operating nearing these areas.
Cruises and Charters
See the attractions section for ideas on cruises and lake tours. Letting someone else do the driving lets you get the most out of your time on the water.
New to Boating?
During holidays, events, or just plain old nice days, parts of Winnipesaukee can get fairly boat congested. For example, the Weirs Channel, which connects Paugus Bay to the big lake, is essentially a narrow two lane road. If you've never driven a boat before, taking your first run through the channel during the fourth of July may be a pretty stressful experience. Lake Winnisquam is the states third largest lake, and it offers a charm all its own. It's less busy than Lake Winnipesaukee, although almost all lakes in the area will fall into this category.