Flat Top Lake Boating and Safety Rules


  1. West Virginia Boating Regulations and Laws apply except wherein stated.
  2. “Boats” as used in this section, unless a different meaning is manifest, include all vessels or craft for the use or usable on, in or under the water of Flat Top Lake (FTLA)are one (1) or the following four (4) classes:
    • “Motorboat” is any vessel propelled by an electric, gasoline, diesel, or other fuel propelled, or driven motor or engine is the principle of propulsion.
    • “Personal watercraft” shall be a vessel, which includes “jet skis”, “wave runners”, “sea-doos”, and other similar types of vessels, or any vessel which has been fabricated using a “personal watercraft” as a basis for its manufacture.
    • “Sailboat” which is any vessel propelled or driven principally by the wind.
    • “Human powered craft” which is any vessel propelled exclusively by manually paddling or rowing; such term includes canoes, rowboats, kayaks, paddle boards and paddleboats.
  3. Various types of boats have the right-of-way in the following order:
    • Rowboats, canoes, kayak, paddle boards and paddleboats. Human powered craft watercraft must remain within 25’, of the shoreline at all times except when crossing the lake.
    • Motor-powered boats.
    • Jet skis.
  4. All boats and trailers must be registered with the Association and display a current Association registration sticker.  Registration and approval by the Boating and Safety Committee for motorized watercraft must be obtained before the same can be launched or in any fashion used on the waters of Flat Top Lake.  Also, unless otherwise provided in these regulations such watercraft must be owned by a member of the association, or a party having special permission of the Board of Directors.  For the purpose of these regulations, the term “owner” means a person other than a lien holder, having the property in or title to the boat.  The term includes a person entitled to the use of possession of a boat subject to the interest in another person, reserved or created by agreement in securing payment for the performance of an obligation, but the term also excludes a lessee under a lease not intended as security; such term also excludes the use of a boat on a demonstration basis except as hereafter provides.
  5. Any motorized watercraft that is new to Flat Top Lake must be inspected by the Superintendent or a member of Boating and Safety Committee prior to launching the watercraft.
  6. Only members in good standing with FTLA will be permitted to register watercraft, ATVs, motorcycles etc.  To register a vehicle or watercraft the following information must be submitted on the proper FTLA registration form:
    • The name and lot number(s) of the member.
    • The name of the manufacturer.
    • The manufacturer’s identification number (VIN).
    • Hull length as certified by the manufacturers or Coast Guard (watercraft only).
    • The manufacturer’s rating of a boat’s maximum passenger capacity and the maximum horsepower that can be used to propel the boat.
    • When registered, each motorized watercraft must have current verification of liability insurance for a minimum of $300,000 per occurrence limit and must include FTLA listed as additional insured/interest on policy.
    • All non-motorized watercraft need to be registered at the office and obtain unique FTL decal, no proof of insurance required. (Revised 07/16/2018)
  7. A member may only register, and thereafter keep and maintain four (4) motorized watercraft per lot.  No more than two of the same class may be registered per lot.
  8. Each watercraft shall bear a current Flat Top Lake registration sticker (issued by the Board of Directors), that includes the lot number of its owner on both sides of the hull, in a forward bow position.
  9. The following watercraft are prohibited from registration under these regulations:
    • Any watercraft, except pontoon boats, including deck boats, which are dealt with hereinafter, whose length, determined by certified length, exclusive of outboard motors, stern drive units, or other similar propulsion attachments or fittings, exceed twenty one (21’) feet.  However, any such boat whose overall center line length measured from tip of bow to transom does not exceed twenty one (21’) feet may have attached to the stern of such boat, a ladder, “swim platform” or other appendage or similar fitting manufactured, installed and/or utilized for assisting swimmers, skiers and the like to exit the water and board the boat  Provided that after the attachment of ladder, swim platform, or other like appendage or similar fitting, the overall length of such boat and propulsion unit (in the full down or “drive” position only) when measured without including such ladder or platform.  Pontoon boats may not be registered which exceed twenty-four (24) feet in length.  Watercraft that are powered by a motor whose horsepower exceeds the rated capacity specified by the manufacturer cannot be approved for use at FTLA.  Boats that are sold as “deck boats” will not be classified as “pontoon” boats, but rather they will be classified as “motor powered boats”, paragraph 2c.
    • Any boat equipped with toilet facilities.
    • Any home-built boats.
    • Any ice boat, which, for any reason, does not comply with these regulations.
    • Motor powered rubber boats or rafts are prohibited.
  10. The following rules and regulations shall apply only to motorboats and personal watercraft.
    • The operation of a boat whose horsepower exceeds the rated capacity specified by the manufacturer is prohibited.
    • The operation of a boat whose passenger capacity, as specified by the manufacturer, is exceeded is prohibited.
    • The operation of a motorboat or personal watercraft whose exhaust exits above, at or near, or in the vicinity of the waterline, or whose exhaust is, during any maneuver executed by such boat above the waterline, shall not be operated upon Flat Top Lake unless and until such motorboat or personal watercraft shall be effectively muffled by equipment so and used as to muffle the noise of the exhaust in a reasonable manner as determined by the FTLA Superintendent and the Boating and Safety Committee. Further prohibited, are the use of the exhaust cutouts on any motorboat or personal watercraft operated on Flat Top Lake.  Every motorboat or personal watercraft operated on Flat Top Lake shall have its exhaust equipped with adequate muffler(s), which, at the minimum, meets the requirements of Chapter 20, Article7, Section 17 of the West Virginia Code. (or successor code provision).
    • Rubber boats are prohibited except in areas where swimming is permitted.
    • Racing of boats is prohibited.
    • The operation of any boat at excessive speed under the prevailing circumstances as determined by the lake Superintendent is prohibited. Speed limit after dark is idle speed.
  11. As per WV state law; Those 12 to 14 years of age may operate a motorboat or PWC only if:  They have completed a boating safety education course and if they are accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older on board the vessel or the vessel’s motor is 10 hp or less.
    • Beginning on the first day of January 1, 2001, no person born on or after the thirty first (31) day of December, one thousand nine hundred eighty six (1986), may operate a motorboat or personal watercraft on any waters of this State without first having obtained a certificate of boating safety education from this or any other state which, certificate was obtained by satisfactorily completing a course of instruction in boating safety education administered by the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary; the United States Power Squadron; the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources boating safety education section personnel; any person authorized to teach the course prescribed by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in this or any other state.
  12. Boats, provided they meet the registration and other criteria of these regulations, may be operated upon this Lake when such boats are being demonstrated to an owner, as herein defined, who is a member, and is entitled to purchase and register such boat on Flat Top Lake, provided further , however, that such demonstrator boat shall exhibit FTLA temporary registration stickers issued by the Superintendent and displayed in accordance with FTLA policy;           Further provided that such manufacturer or dealer demonstrating such boat or boats to an owner/member authorized to own and operate same on the lake, shall also have in full force and effect liability insurance in the amount of not less than $100,000.00 for death or injury to any one person in any one accident, and $300,000.00 aggregate coverage for death or injury to more than one in any one accident, and $25,000.00 property damage; further provided that such demonstrator boats shall not be demonstrated to, used by or remain upon the lake or any of the associations property for more than forty-eight (48) hours from the time the same are brought on FTLA property.
  13. All watercraft (motor or human powered) must carry approved life preservers for each passenger, provided, however, the operator and/or passenger(s) of any personal watercraft shall each wear an approved life preserver at all times.  Children under the age of five (5) must wear an approved jacket-type life preserver at all times while such children are passengers in a watercraft.
  14. The presence in a boat of any individual under the influence of intoxicants, drugs, or controlled substances is prohibited.  No person who is the owner of any watercraft of off-road vehicle (the use of which is contemplated upon Flat Top Lake under the terms of these regulations) or has such in his charge or control, shall operate or permit the same to be operated by any person who, by reason of any physical or mental disability, including the ingestion of intoxicating substances, drugs, or controlled substances, is incapable of operating watercraft or other vehicle under all prevailing circumstances.
  15. Boats must bear to the right of oncoming boats and shall proceed around the lake counter-clockwise, with the near shoreline being on the operator’s right side at all times.
  16. Where space permits, must not proceed closer than fifty (50) feet of the shore or a dock, except in docking.  Human powered watercraft and swimmers must remain within 25’ of the shoreline (except watercraft crossing the lake).  When approaching or departing from a dock, boats must proceed at an appropriate speed.
  17. The following rules and regulations apply only to watercraft being operated between sundown and sunup:
    • Watercraft must display standard red and green bow lights and a white stern light while in motion. The white stern light must be illuminated at all times after dark when the watercraft is stationary.
    • Watercraft must operate under at idle no wake speed after dark. Violation may result in a ticket being issued and the member may be required to appear before the Boating & Safety committee and or the BOD.
    • The towing of water skiers or other objects after dark is prohibited.
    • Operation of human powered watercraft in the hours from dusk to dawn is prohibited, daylight operation only is allowed.
  18. Submerged boats must be removed from the lake at once.  Removal will be at member’s expense.
  19. The following rules and regulations for watercraft shall apply:
    • Personal watercraft are prohibited from pulling persons on water-skis, surfboards, rafts, inner tubes, or any other device.
    • The operation of personal watercraft (jet skis) and human powered watercraft between sunset and dawn is prohibited.
    • No person under the age of fifteen (15) shall operate or be permitted to operate a motorboat or personal watercraft upon the lake, except persons twelve (12) to fifteen (15) years of age may operate a motorboat or personal watercraft if a member or member’s family over the age of eighteen (18) years of age is aboard the motorboat or personal watercraft.
    • No more than two (2) water skiers, nor more than one (1) wakeboard, or one (1) raft, or one (1) tube or float, or any other devices shall be pulled by any boat at the same time. No combination of these devices shall be allowed to be pulled behind any boat, except water skiers, which is limited to two (2) skiers.
    • Life jacket must be worn or readily available when on human powered watercraft including kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding and a tether line should be used when paddle boarding.
  20. Except when approaching or departing the beach and docking area or trolling for fish, the operation of any boat within fifty (50’) feet of the shoreline is prohibited.
  21. Boats shall be operated in such a manner as not to cause or produce “wakes” in an area marked “no wake area” (which means idle speed).  Wake boats shall be prohibited on Flat Top Lake, unless they were registered prior to November 1, 2009.  Once a wake boat previously registered to a FTLA member, is removed from the lake it cannot be replaced by another wake boat.  Ownership transfer of wake boats is prohibited.  For the purpose of these rules and regulations, a wake boat is defined as any boat designed or operated with added ballast or wake enhancing equipment including aftermarket retrofits, that allows the boat to produce an enhanced wake.  Watercraft operators are responsible for any and all for damaged caused by their watercraft.
  22. No person shall operate any watercraft in a reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger the life or property of any person.
  23.  No “buoy type” mooring is permitted.  The watercraft must be tied-attached to a member’s dock and/or docking area on the owner’s property and/or on authorized areas approved by FTLA.
  24. Motorized watercraft are not permitted to be operated within 100’ of the trickle tube near the dam after dark.
  25. Parking in the center isle in the marina parking lot for more than 72 hours is prohibited.  Parking around the outside perimeter of the parking lot is on a first come – first serve basis.  All trailers must have current FTLA registration to park at the marina parking area.  Violations may result in FTLA removing the trailer and a fine of $50 for moving trailers in violation of policy.
  26. Any member that allows a non-member to bring and launch a non-registered watercraft on the Lake is subject to a $500 monetary fine and owner of said watercraft is also subject to a $500 monetary fine also (the guilty member is responsible for non-member payment also).  Members wanting to “test drive” an unregistered watercraft prior to possible purchase must have permission from the Superintendent who will issue the member 24-hour temporary registration stickers.  The watercraft being trialed must be removed from the lake within 24 hours.
  27. Trailers of all types must have a current FTLA registration sticker to be stored on FTLA common  property.  Trailers do not have to be insured in order to be stored on FTLA property but must be parked  in proper designated areas.
  28. The Lake Superintendent has the right to ask any member to remove or park their watercraft or off road type vehicle for any reason they deem reasonable and appropriate but not limited to and including dangerous/reckless operation, operator intoxication or impairment and excessive noise level.

Water Skis

  1. “Water skis” as used in these rules and regulations, unless a different is manifest, includes single slalom or double skis, ski skates and trick skis, wakeboards, surfboards, rafts, inner tubes, and the like, when worn or ridden by an individual towed by a boat, referred to herein as a “water skier.”
  2. Approved life preservers must be worn at all times by anyone waterskiing on the lake.
  3. Anyone thrown from or falling water skis must be picked up as soon as possible.  Skiers are advised to be aware of their environment when in the water and should hold up a ski or wave arms to make oncoming watercraft aware of their vulnerable position.
  4. Parasailing is prohibited at FTLA.
  5. When towing a skier, there must be at least two individuals in the boat.  An observer is required to monitor skier status and is responsible to notify the boat operator immediately if the skier falls or is in the water.  Use of a rear facing camera system or a mirror does not negate the requirement of a capable observer in the watercraft towing skier(s).
  6. Water skiers must not ski closer than 25 feet (25’) of the shore, except in commencing or concluding a tow.  Skiers are responsible to maintain a safe distance from all watercraft and the shoreline.
  7. Flying towables which are capable of being launched in the air are prohibited.  This does not apply to traditional towable devices that may become airborne briefly when crossing a wake.


Note:  LIFEGUARDS ARE NOT ON DUTY at the beach.  Swimming is permitted inside the perimeter of the buoys designating the FTLA swimming area (located at the Beach).  Children under the age of ten (10) are not allowed to swim without adult supervision.  Trespassing on members property adjacent to the beach area is prohibited.

Swimming is permitted only within in the designated swimming area at the beach, within 25 feet (25’) of the shoreline / dock abutting the lot of a members property, or within 25’ of boats anchored out of the lanes of travel or main channels.  The lake Superintendent has the right to limit the distance away from a stationary watercraft that swimming is allowed if conditions warrant in order to protect swimmers during periods of high traffic.

Road Vehicles

  1. Passing another moving vehicle traveling on the FTLA perimeter road is strictly prohibited.
  2. Maximum speed limit on FTLA property is 25mph with the exception of Beach Road which is 15mph.  Violation of posted speed limit will result in the following:
    • First offense – verbal warning.
    • Second offense – written warning which may necessitate appearance before the Boating and Safety Committee or the FTLA Board of Directors (discretion of the lake Superintendent).
    • Third Offense – a $100 fine will be assessed against the appropriate member. Note: Members are responsible for their family and guests at all times while on FTLA property.
    • Any offense in excess of third – up to and including appearance before the BOD, fines as deemed appropriate by the BOD up to $500, loss of use of FTLA common grounds and privileges including driving of motorized vehicles on FTLA property beyond the Lake Office, and forfeiture of extra gate cards and use of the remote gate operating system.
  3. “Road Vehicles” as used in this Section A, unless a different meaning is manifest, include all motor powered land vehicles such as trucks, automobiles, snowmobiles, motorcycles, mini bikes, all-terrain vehicles and all other types of recreational vehicles whether operated upon the Association’s roads, upon other property of the Association, or upon the lots of members.
  4. Parking upon the paved portion of the Association roads by road vehicles is prohibited.  All vehicles must park 3’ off the perimeter road during times of inclement weather.  Vehicles parked within 3’ of the perimeter road presenting a hazard for driving or snow removal may be towed at the owner’s expense.
  5. Operators of road vehicles on Association roads are required to have a current vehicle driver’s license.
  6. Operation of road vehicles upon the FTLA beach, softball field, and other designated areas is prohibited without permission from Superintendent.
  7. Association roads have a winter weight restriction that is strictly enforced. Road vehicles and towed vehicles of 17,000 pounds GVW or less, are permitted on Association roads between December 15 and April 15, with the exception of emergency or health care vehicles.  The Superintendent has the authority to modify these dates dependent on weather in order to limit damage to perimeter road.

GENERAL: Including use of FTLA lake, common grounds, wooded areas and trail system

  1. Trail riding is only allowed for FTLA members on registered 4 wheelers, UTV’s and trail bikes.  No “on road” vehicles are allowed to be driven on trails.  No four wheeled vehicle designed for or commonly used for street use shall be permitted on trails and off road area of FTL property.  Violations will result in up to a $500 fine for first offence.
  2. Since the Association’s trails are not regularly maintained, riders of recreational vehicles do so at their own risk and are responsible for their actions.
  3. Public intoxication on FTLA common grounds is prohibited.  The Lake Superintendent has the right to ask members and or their guests to leave a common area if an individual is deemed to be intoxicated and a nuisance to others.
  4. No watercraft or motorized off road vehicles are allowed to be operated on FTLA property without proper FTLA registration stickers.  Machines must be registered with the Association on prescribed Association forms before operation on FTLA property.  Temporary registration stickers are available from the lake Superintendent if proper registration stickers are not available, provided that the members registration form is filled out completely and signed and the watercraft or vehicle is insured in accordance with FTLA guidelines.  Temporary stickers are valid for 72 hours after issuance.
  5. Each unlicensed motorized recreational vehicle listed above when registered, needs verification of being insured for a minimum $300,000 occurrence limit for liability and have FTLA listed as additional insured/interest on policy.
  6. Unlicensed operators 12 and under may not ride such on or off road vehicles on trails and designated fields of FTLA unless accompanied by a person 18 years or older.
  7. The number of riders on an on or off road vehicle shall not exceed manufacturer’s recommendations.
  8. Side-by-side operation of two or more on or off road vehicle upon the paved portion of FTLA roads is prohibited.
  9. Loud exhaust (as determined by the Superintendent) on or off road vehicles and watercraft is prohibited.
  10. On or off road vehicles must have appropriate lights displayed on the front and rear between sundown and sunup.
  11. Littering anywhere on FTLA property is strictly prohibited. Objects such as cans, plastic, styrofoam, paper, glass bottles, cigarettes or litter of any type shall not be thrown into the lake, upon the FTLA property, or upon the lots of members.
  12. Reasonable assistance shall be given any distressed watercraft, an off road vehicle or individual as soon as possible.
  13. In the event of any accident on the Lake, perimeter road or FTLA property resulting in property damage and/or injury, a written incident report must be submitted by those involved to the Superintendent within twenty-four (24) hours, giving a full account of what took place.
  14. Passing another moving vehicle traveling on the FTLA perimeter road is strictly prohibited.
  15. The Lake Superintendent has the authority to remove any member (or family member and guest) from FTLA common areas should he feel that it is necessary due to safety reasons or if the person(s) are deemed a nuisance to other members. Failure to comply may result in law enforcement action.
  16. Contractors are subject to being banned from working on FTLA property for repeated speeding violations or any other infraction of FTLA rules. Members are responsible for contractors behavior and actions while on FTLA property.
  17. Rules for parking of boats & trailers at Windy Point storage yard (Revised 11/05/2018):
    a. All Boats parked in storage yard must have a current FTL registration decal displayed
    b. If boat registration decal has expired, boat owner must register watercraft with FTL office
    the required insurance coverage or remove boat.
    c. Boats that are not properly registered will be classified as unrepairable and will be removed
    from lot.
    d. All trailers including boat, cargo, jet ski, flats etc. must have a FTL “trailer” decal displayed.
    These trailer decals are available at FTL office and no registration is required.
    e. All flat bed trailers must be cleaned off in that nothing is to be stored on them.
    f. All boats must be stored on a functional trailer at all times (no missing wheels, etc)
    g. All boats and trailers need to be parked in designated areas specified on signage.
    h. There will be a $50 hookup fee each time FTL personnel must move a member’s trailer for
    violating the rules set forth.
    i. This unsecured boat storage area is offered as a convenience to the membership and the
    FTLA assumes no liability for damages, theft or vandalism that may occur to parked
    watercraft, vehicles and trailers.