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​​​​Boating at Elk State Park

Unlimited horsepower motors permitted

The 1,160-acre East Branch Lake has one boat launch on Instanter Drive. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also provides a boat launch by the dam.​​​​​

Boat Registration

Motorboats must display a current boat registration. Non-powered boats must display one of the following:

  • Boat registration
  • Launch permit or mooring permit from Pennsylvania state parks -- available at most state park offices
  • Launch permit from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

Pennsylvania Fi​sh and Boat Commission regulations and laws apply.

Boat Mooring

Elk State Park has three mooring/docking areas around the lake:

  • Instanter
  • Swamp Creek
  • Army Corps of Engineers

The Elk State Park D​ock Manual (PDF) includes all the rules, guidelines, and policies for docks and overnight mooring.


Iceboats must display a current state park launch permit. Ice thickness is not monitored.

Be Safe on the Ice

  • Test ice thickness with an auger before recreating. Four inches of solid ice is the minimum recommended thickness for a single person. Seven inches of solid ice is the minimum recommended thickness for small group. Ice should be six inches thick for iceboating.

  • Always carry safety equipment and know how to use it.

  • Spread out. Crowds can put too much weight onto one area.

  • Be aware of changes in ice thickness across a body of water. Perimeter ice is weaker due to shifting, expansion and sunlight reflecting off of the bottom.

  • Avoid areas with protruding logs, brush, plants, and docks. These structures absorb heat, weakening the surrounding ice.

  • Avoid areas with multiple or intersecting cracks, and standing water over ice.

  • Venturing out on ice alone is not advisable. Take a friend along for fun and for safety.

  • Wear a PFD (life jacket).

  • Check the weather and plan accordingly. Several days with temperatures above freezing will weaken the ice.​​