Boating Regulations

In order to protect the natural beauty of the Merrill Creek Reservoir and assure that all visitors have a safe and enjoyable visit, the following rules have been established:

  1. All New Jersey State fishing and boating regulations apply, including fishing licenses, boat registration and numbering, power boat operator licenses, and Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices (PFD’s).
  2. Fishing boats, sailboats, row boats, canoes and kayaks are permitted for use under the following guidelines:
    All Boats must be a minimum of 11 feet, 6″ in length with the following exceptions:
    Kayaks must be at least 9 feet in length and contain some type of factory-installed flotation.
    Inflatables must be a minimum of 10 feet in length, have at least 3 air chambers, and be equipped with a permanent, factory-installed transom if a motor is used.
    All Boats, excluding canoes or kayaks, must display a U.S. Coast Guard metal capacity plate.
  3. Electric motors only.
  4. All boats, canoes and kayaks must be launched from the boat ramp, which is located on the east side of the reservoir. Launching is not permitted from the shoreline.
  5. The boat ramp is open during hours of full daylight, as posted.
  6. Fishing is permitted from boats; shoreline fishing is permitted except from the shoreline of the Environmental Preserve, the boat ramp docks, and other “Restricted Areas.” For the enjoyment of physically challenged anglers, a barrier-free fishing dock is located off Fox Farm Road near the Inlet/Outlet Tower. Physically challenged anglers are to be given preference in the use of this dock. Because of low water level in the reservoir the Barrier Free Dock is CLOSED.
  7. The following are prohibited:
    • Photographing any building or dam structure
    • Swimming, diving, wading, scuba diving, water skiing, jet skiing, surf sailing, paddle boards
    • Board sailing, tubing, or other water flotation devices
    • Any ice activity
    • Possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages or illegal substances
    • Radio-controlled model boats
    • Glass containers
    • Firearms, weapons, or fireworks
    • Feeding of wildlife
  8. Strong winds and cold water can be dangerous. Check weather conditions and forecasts before starting out. PFD’s should be worn at all times.
  9. We have installed a Wind Advisory System, which is advisory in nature only. A set of lights is situated atop the Inlet/Outlet Tower. These lights are not visible from all areas of the Reservoir. They will start to flash when winds are sustained at 25 mph for 5 seconds. If the lights are flashing, you are advised to go to the nearest shoreline. Wind speed may differ on different parts of the Reservoir.
  10. All litter must be deposited in appropriate trash containers. Please recycle!
  11. Restricted areas:
    • All parts of the main dam, its instrument access stairway, and the three dikes. Walking on the roadway at the top is permitted.
    • Stoned areas at the bottom of the outside slope of the main dam and the dikes
    • Inlet/Outlet Tower and its bridge
    • Fenced areas posted “Restricted Area”
  12. All General Rules and Regulations of the Merrill Creek Reservoir apply.
  13. All boats taking part in fishing tournaments will be signed in at the boat ramp on a first come basis. No preference will be afforded over other boaters. No tables, weigh-in stations, etc. are allowed in the parking lots and all fish are to be weighed and released on the water unless they are harvested. To expedite the sign -in process, the coordinator may wish to provide a roster to the ramp attendant upon arrival.

Permitted activities or use of the facilities are undertaken at the user’s own risk. The Merrill Creek Owners Group and its agents reserve the right to deny access to the reservoir, the land, and associated facilities, at its discretion.