Certified Boats

NMMA certification

Look for this NMMMA Certified logo when purchasing a boat

NMMA Certification is a program designed to help boat manufacturers comply with industry safety and construction standards and federal regulations. In order to be NMMA Certified, boat manufacturers must certify each boat model they produce. In addition, a dealer can get a Marine Five Star Certification to ensure that buying and maintaining a boat are pleasant experiences.

How to find an NMMA Certified boat or yacht

  • Ask your dealer
  • Visit NMMA Boat Shows , Most show directories indicate who is NMMA Certified.
  • Look for the NMMA Certified logo on the capacity plate of boats up to 26' or on the yacht plate of yachts 26' and larger. Plates are usually located near the helm.

Why is an NMMA Certified boat better?

NMMA Boat Certification

All boats sold in the U.S. must meet U.S. Coast Guard minimum regulations. NMMA Certified boats must also meet the more comprehensive standards set by the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC), covering more systems and components than USCG regulations.

NMMA Certified boats undergo third-party inspection to ensure all applicable standards are met; the result is a thoroughly inspected, high-quality boat for you and your passengers.

What does Certification cover?

The NMMA Certification program covers over 30 categories of standards, which vary by boat type and may include:

  • Fuel systems
  • Ventilation
  • Passenger and weight capacity (on boats under 26')
  • Horsepower Capacity (on boats under 20')
  • Flotation (on boats under 20')
  • Electrical systems
  • Navigation lights
  • Warning label placement and guidelines
  • Steering systems

How does a boat become Certified?

Manufacturers build a boat to ABYC and USCG standards under the guidance of the company's NMMA-trained Certification specialist.

NMMA inspects the completed boat to make sure it meets the established standards. If any oversights are found, the manufacturer must bring the boat to compliance by completing and documenting the necessary changes.

Boats that successfully pass this inspection process are considered NMMA Certified.

How do I know if a boat is NMMA Certified?

Look for the NMMA Certified logo on the capacity or yacht plate, located near the helm. Ask your dealer.

Yacht Certification plate
US Coast Guard plate

 ABYC Standards

Unlike for cars, there are relatively few federal regulations regarding the construction of boats. There are requirements for fire extinguishers, life jackets, navigation lights and visual distress signals but these have little to do with how a boat is built and more to do with meeting minimal safety requirements. For the most part the government in the U.S. has left it up to private industry to create a body of guidance for building safe recreational boats.

ABYC Surveyor
An ABYC Surveyor inspects a motor

Founded in 1954, the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) in a non-profit, member organization that develops voluntary safety standards for the design, construction, maintenance, and repair of recreational boats. ABYC to keep boating safe and enjoyable by making sure that a boat's construction is not at fault if something does not go according to our plan on the water. The standards and technical information reports cover all the major boat systems and the development and annual review of these standards correlates directly to the significant reduction in the number of boating accidents over the past six decades.

In 2003, NMMA and ABYC made an agreement that strengthens each organization’s efforts to encourage broad use of ABYC Standards and the NMMA Boat & Yacht Certification Program. More than 180 boatbuilders now build to the standards and 90% of the boats sold in the U.S. today are certified.

Visit to learn more about ABYC Standards.