Bridgewater Channel Laws
City ordinances governing the Bridgewater Channel
The Bridgewater Channel is a mecca for residents and vacationers and is a favorite hot-spot for boaters to beach during the warmer weather. The "Channel" is subject to the Lake Havasu City, Arizona Code of Ordinances as well as State and Federal laws. In the City Ordinance details, Arizona state law (AZ Revised Statutes) is noted in parenthesis.
City ordinances at a glance
- Boaters must stay to the right (counter-clockwise).
- No boat 36' or longer allowed without prior city permission.
- Driver's view may not be impeded at any time.
- No overloading of passengers in a boat.
- No reckless or dangerous operation of a boat.
- No idling while beached.
- No stopping in the channel.
- No-wake zone/5mph max.
- No overnight mooring.
- No swimming in or across the channel.
- Water cannons/guns are illegal.
- No bow-riding while underway.
Channel Ordinances (Civil Violations)
|All watercraft shall keep to the right of the center of the channel while in transit through the channel.||§8.16.070||A.R.S. §5-345|
|There is no stopping, parking, or anchoring in the channel in a manner which would impede or interfere with the flow of boating traffic.||§8.16.090||A.R.S. §5-347|
|No watercraft 36 feet in length or longer shall be operated through or within the channel. No houseboats through the channel.||§8.16.095||N/A|
|The channel is a no-wake zone, not to exceed 5 mph.||§8.16.100||A.R.S. §5-343|
|No person shall operate a watercraft with anyone or anything in or on the bow obstructing the view of the operator.||§8.16.120||A.R.S. §5-341|
|No boat mooring in the channel from 11pm-5am, except on privately-owned property with the permission of the property owner. [Fines for overnight mooring are $275 per night (current as of 08/14)]||§8.16.130||N/A|
|Every watercraft has a limitation of number of occupants/weight. It is illegal to overload a watercraft with more people or weight than the safety plate specifies.||§8.16.140||A.R.S. §5-344|
|There is no swimming in the channel at any time (this includes swimming across the channel).||§8.16.150||N/A|
Violation of any of the ordinances above constitutes a civil violation under Lake Havasu City Ordinance and is subject to a fine not-to-exceed $500 for each violation.
Channel Ordinances (Criminal Violations)
|Any person operating a watercraft in reckless disregard for safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless operation of a watercraft.||§8.16.180||A.R.S. §5-341|
|Firing/shooting water or other liquid out of a water cannon from the shore of the channel at a driver or passengers of a boat, or from a boat toward people standing on the shore in the channel, is illegal and is a criminal misdemeanor. A water cannon means any device capable of emitting or discharging a stream of water or liquid substance over a distance of 10 feet.||§8.16.190||N/A|
|Water cannons used to fire at or from watercraft in the channel are subject to seizure when used in violation of §8.16.190 above.||§8.16.191||N/A|
|While beached within the channel, motorized watercraft may not idle their engines for any purpose once they are securely beached. Motorized watercraft may start their engines up to 1 minute before getting underway from the beach area.||§8.16.210||N/A|
|No passenger shall ride on the gunwales, transom, or deck over bow of a watercraft in motion and being propelled by machinery unless that portion of the watercraft was designated for the purpose of carrying passengers or the watercraft is being maneuvered for anchoring, mooring, or casting off moorings. In layman's terms, bow-riding, sitting at the front of the boat with your feet in the water, or sitting/standing on the swim step while the boat is underway is illegal and if convicted, considered a Class 1 misdemeanor under City ordinance and a Class 2 misdemeanor under State law||§8.16.230||A.R.S. §5-341|
Violation of any of the ordinances above constitutes a criminal misdemeanor violation under Lake Havasu City Ordinance and is subject to a fine of not-to-exceed 2,500, or by imprisonment for a period not-to-exceed 6 months, or both.
For specific information about operating a boat or PWC while under the influence of alcohol, please go to our OUI page.
Fines and penalties may be greater based on the infraction or crime, as well as the violator being charged under both the city ordinance and the Arizona state statutes, which may constitute a different misdemeanor class. Common sense is the best way to keep yourself and your party safe from harm or citation. Anyone planning on boating through the Bridgewater Channel is urged to familiarize themselves with the Lake Havasu City Code of Ordinances, as well as the Arizona Revised Statutes.
Our boating safety section is a four-part series. Please browse through the additional sections for more information: