Boating Laws & License Requirements by State
Passing a boating safety course will give you a discount on boat insurance and will increase your
water safety skills. Boat safety courses are an excellent investment of time and money, regardless
of your state's boating law. Each state has unique boating education requirements, and the boating
rules, laws and regulations vary from state to state for obtaining a boat license or safety certification.
Be sure to review the full legal requirements for your particular state.
||Massachusetts Environmental Police
Who May Operate a Vessel
Who May Operate a Motorboat: The
restrictions below apply to boats propelled
by any type of motor, whether or not
the motor is the principal source of
- Persons under 12 years of age may operate a motorboat on Massachusetts waters only if accompanied on board and directly supervised by a competent person 18 years of age or older.
- Persons 12 through 15 years of age may operate a motorboat on Massachusetts waters only if they:
- Have passed an approved boating education course or …
- Are accompanied on board and directly supervised by a competent person 18 years of age or older.
- Persons 16 years of age or older may operate a motorboat on Massachusetts waters without age restrictions.
Who May Operate a Personal Watercraft
- Persons under 16 years of age may not operate a PWC on Massachusetts waters under any circumstances.
- Persons 16 or 17 years of age may operate a PWC on Massachusetts waters only if they have passed a state-approved boating education course.
- Persons 18 years of age or older may operate a PWC on Massachusetts waters without age restrictions.
- It is illegal to lease or rent a personal watercraft
to any person under 16 years of age. It is illegal to lease or rent a
PWC to any person 16 or 17 years of age who does not have in his or her
possession the required Boating Safety Certificate.
A person must be at least 12 years of age to be issued a
Boating Safety Certificate. Students must be at least 12 years of age to
enroll in the state’s boating safety course.
Persons required to have passed a state-approved boating
education course must have the Boating Safety Certificate on board and
available for inspection by an enforcement officer whenever the vessel
||View the official Massachusetts boating state web site here.
States with mandatory boating law require safety certification for some or all boaters. Only one state (Alabama) requires an actual boat license. However, many prospective students are not aware of state legal terminology, and search for information about a boat license or licence, or a captain or captains license. This page is an excellent resource for boating law for all fifty states.
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