Boating Rules & 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:

  • All New Jersey State and U.S. Coast Guard fishing and boating regulations apply, including boat registration and numbering, possessing a valid boat operators license for applicable vessels, and US Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices (PDF’s), AKA Life Jackets.
  • PDF’s should be worn at all times on boats, however all children 12 years old and younger MUST wear an U.S. Coast Guard approved type I, II, III, III hybrid inflatable or V personal floatation devise in serviceable condition at all times while on the water.
  • Pets should wear a PDF at all times on any vessel while on the water.
  • When using kayaks, canoes, or inflatables/rafts, a U.S. Coast Guard approved type I, II, III, III hybrid inflatable or V personal floatation device (PDF) in serviceable condition MUST be worn at all times while on the water.
  • Fishing boats, sailboats, row boats, canoes, kayaks inflatables/rafts and canoes are permitted for use under the following guidelines:
    • All Boats –minimum of 11′, 6″ in length and MUST display a U.S. Coast Guard metal capacity plate.
    • Kayaks –minimum 9′ in length and contain some type of factory-installed flotation.
    • Canoes–  minimum of 11’6″
    • Inflatables/Rafts –minimum of 10′ in length, with at least 3 air chambers, and 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.

  • Electric motors only. Only Electric motors can be used (5-horsepower maximum) at MCR. NO gas-powered motor use at any time.
  • There is to be NO rigging on the boat ramp or boat launch area or in front of the boat house.
  • All vessels must be launched from the boat ramp area on the east side of the reservoir. Launching is not permitted from any shoreline or from the barrier-free fishing dock.
  • All public vessels shall move at a NO WAKE speed at all times.
  • Aside from the MCR boat dock area- there is no docking anywhere else at the Reservoir.
  • Boats are limited to use only ONE transom mounted electric motor (use of multiple transom mounted motors at one time is not allowed regardless if the motors are all electric and under the 5-horsepower maximum).
  • All transom mounted gas-powered motors are to be tipped up (PROPS OUT OF THE WATER) and kept up while on the water- unless the propeller is removed or a transom mounted electric motor is mounted to the gas motor whereupon ONLY the electric motor is to be used.
  • MCR’s Wind Advisory System located atop the Inlet/Outlet Tower at the western side of the reservoir is advisory in nature only. This set of lights are not visible from all areas of the reservoir. They flash when winds are sustained at 25 mph for 5 seconds. If these lights are flashing, it is advised to go to the nearest shoreline. NOTE: wind speeds may differ on different parts of the reservoir.
  • Strong winds and cold water can be dangerous so please check weather conditions and forecast before starting out on the water.
  • NO parking outside of MCR gates prior to opening is permitted.
  • The reservoir is closed in inclement weather.
  • MCR reserves the right to close the reservoir for any reason, anytime. If the cable is across the boat ramp DO NOT remove or open it.
  • Please carry out your trash, including unused purchased live bait and pet waste.
  • All vessels MUST be off the water by the posted reservoir closing times (NOTE: this may differ from posted property closing times).
  • No boat is to plane EVER on the water.
  • No glass containers in any vessel on the water or at the boat ramp/launch area.

 

  • PROHIBITED AT MCR:
    • Use of gas-powered motors, including power-loading and/or charging of electric motors, by visitors.
    • Swimming, diving, wading, scuba diving, or snorkeling
    • The use of flyboards or paddleboards, including stand up paddleboards or any modified versions of paddleboards including combo paddleboard/kayak.
    •    Board sailing, wind surfing, parasailing, waterskiing, tubing, jet skis or use of any other watercraft or floatation devises not described herein.
    •    Use of multiple transom mounted motors at one time regardless if the motors are all electric and under the 10-horsepower maximum. MCR limits use to only ONE transom mounted electric motor.
    • Photographing any building or dam/dike structure.
    •    Sports activities
    •    Picnicking or camping
    • Snowmobiling
    • Any ice activity (skating, fishing, etc.)
    •    Vehicles of any kind off paved areas
    •    Bicycles or scooters off paved areas.
    •    4-Wheelers/Quads, motor bikes, dirt bikes.
    • Possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages or illegal or regulated substances
    •    Commercial groups or activities
    •    Collecting, picking or disturbing plants
    •    Feeding, collecting, disturbing or harassing wildlife
    •    Fires of any kind, including grills
    •    Use of remote-controlled toy watercraft or submersibles
    •    Drones, radio controlled aircraft of any kind
    •    Launching or landing any type of aircraft
    •    Sound producing devises, unless used with earphones.
    •    Firearms, weapons, or fireworks
    •    Skateboards, roller skates, roller blades, hoverboards, swagboards, or segways
    •    Sledding
    •    Horses
    •    Climbing on structures or trees
    •    Posting or distributing signs or literature
    •    Archeological activities, including metal detectors or magnet fishing
    •    Protesting, picketing, or soliciting
    •    Smoking, except in parking areas and on the water
    •    Littering, graffiti, or defacing structures, signage, vegetation or rocks
    •    Walking, climbing, docking or other access on or at:
    •                    All parts of the main dam and its access stairway and the three dikes (with the exception that walking on the roadway across the top is permitted)
    •                    Stoned areas at the bottom of the outside slope of the main dam and dikes
    •                    Inlet/Outlet Tower and its bridge
    •                    Fenced areas
    •                    Any areas posted as “Restricted Areas”
    •                    Other areas that are posted with temporary restrictions
  • All General Rules and Regulations of the Merrill Creek Reservoir apply.

Please park only in designated parking lot areas. All visitors MUST be off the property by posted property closing times.

If you are found to be violating any of these rules you may receive a warning and/or be banned from the premises. Determination of consequences are at the sole discretion of Merrill Creek Reservoir. Trespassing or vandalism of any kind will be subject to prosecution. (NOTE: being on the property any time that MCR closed is considered trespassing-so please mind the MCR opening and closing times, as well as, holiday closures).

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

Parking along Merrill Creek Road prior to the gate opening is prohibited by order of Harmony Township Ordinance 0:17-11. Please plan your arrival accordingly.