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Water Safety

DGIF has responsibility for water safety and fishing regulations throughout the Commonwealth. Localities supplement the work of the game wardens with local law enforcement to address concerns outside boating and fishing violations. In tidal waters, the Virginia Marine Resource Commission (VMRC) has jurisdiction for boater safety and.

Virginia fishing and boating regulations may be found at Water safety planning issues are important for all recreational access. Safety factors vary with each resource, but typically include:

River traffic patterns - Recreation boaters and sportsmen should give special consideration to commercial boat traffic. Planners of water access need to consider the needs of recreational motorized and non-motorized traffic and ultimate river traffic patterns when planning facilities.

River hazards - Natural river hazards such as dams and underwater obstructions need to be identified and accommodations made for safe portages.

Tidal changes and winds - In planning boating facilities, tidal changes must be accommodated in the facility design. The presence of winds and tides varies with resources, but should always be considered during design and water trail trip planning.