As the largest lake in the Nebraska/Colorado/Kansas area, Lake McConaughy contains over 30,000 surface acres, making it a favorite with all types of boaters.
What you need to know:
Boat registration: Motorized boats that are currently registered in Nebraska or any other state may be operated at Lake McConaughy. If your boat is newly purchased, you have an “in-transit” period as designated by the state in which you plan to register your boat.
Nebraska does not require non-powered boats to be registered to operate on public waters.
Safety gear: Nebraska follows nearly the same Federal guidelines for safety equipment as most other states. Check www.boatsafenebraska.org to be sure you have the correct safety gear (life jackets, fire extinguisher, paddle, etc.).
Boat Education: Nebraska law requires anybody born after December 31, 1985 to have completed a boating safety course and have proof of completion in their possession.
Nebraska residents can find classes here. Non-residents may present proof of completion from their home state.
Boat inspection: Beginning in 2016, boaters in Nebraska help fund the state’s effort to prevent the infestation and spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS). A $5 Aquatic Invasive Species Fee will be added to the three-year boat registrations of Nebraska residents beginning in 2016, to help fund education, prevention and inspection programs. For nonresidents, a nonresident boaters’ $15 fee is for the purchase of an annual decal. That decal is required of every motorized watercraft registered outside of Nebraska before that craft may be launched from any Nebraska boat ramp. The nonresident decal can be purchased at OutdoorNebraska.org or at Nebraska Game and Parks Commission offices in Lincoln, Omaha, Norfolk, North Platte, Alliance, Kearney and Bassett.
See http://www.protectyourwaters.net for more information “Clean-Drain-Dry” procedures.
Boat ramp availability can vary through the year due to water level fluctuations. Check with the park headquarters at 308-284-8800 for ramp status, or see the pinned post on the Lake McConaughy Facebook page. Private tractor services can also assist you with boat launching/towing.
Beach launching is currently legal at Lake McConaughy, but if you choose to do so, you are cautioned to know the capabilities of your tow vehicle.