Find Boating Resources in Your State

Boating rules, laws and regulations vary from state to state. Use our interactive map to find everything you need to know about boating safety, life jacket requirements, minimum age necessary to operate a boat or personal watercraft (PWC), trailer registration requirements, and other educational resources. Just click on your state to get started.

Also be sure to use the Color-Coded Key below to understand boating license and safety certificate requirements for your state.

 

Click on your state to view: Resident License and/or Education Requirements, Life Jacket Requirements, Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel or Personal Watercraft, and Boat Trailer Registration Requirements.
boating license requirements by state

Last Updated: July 8, 2021

 

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State-by-State Boating Rules and Regulations

*To make updates on your state's information, state officials should contact Emma Boone, Director, NMMA Digital Communications.

 

Alabama

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Must-have boating license.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 8 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: 12 years old or older to operate any type vessel. 12 and 13 years olds must have someone 21 years old or older, who is a licensed operator, on board and within reach of the controls. 14 years old or older to operate alone.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 12 years old or older to operate any type vessel. 12 and 13 years olds must have someone 21 years old or older, who is a licensed operator, on board and within reach of the controls. 14 years old or older to operate alone. 
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers are not registered in Alabama.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Alabama, visit the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency

 

Alaska

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: No mandatory boat or water safety course educational requirements.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 13 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: No age requirement.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): No age requirement.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Alaska, visit the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Office of Boating Safety.

 

Arizona

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: No mandatory boat or water safety course educational requirements.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: It is illegal for a person under the age of 12 to operate a vessel with a motor greater than 8 hp. 
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): Arizona law states that it is illegal for a person under the age of 12 to operate a vessel with a motor greater than 8 hp.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Non-commercial trailers with a declared gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 10,000 lbs or less.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Arizona, visit Arizona Game & Fish.

 

Arkansas

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Mandatory boating safety education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft. 
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: To operate a motorboat powered by 10hp or more: A person under 12 must have a Boat Ed (BE) certification and be under direct visible and audible supervision of a parent, guardian or person over 17 years. 
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 14 years or older to operate by themselves as long as they are Boat Ed certified. Persons 12 or 13 years must have BE and have a person at least 18years on board. Under 12 must have BE and have a person at least 21years on board and in a position to take immediate control of the PWC. 
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: All boat trailers and travel trailers drawn by any truck.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Arkansas, visit the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission.

 

California

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: California Vessel Operator Card (CVOC) required to operate a vessel.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: Must be 16 or older to operate a motorboat of 15 hp or greater if unsupervised. Those 12-15 years of age may operate under supervision of a person 18 or older who is on board. 
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): Must be 16 or older to operate a motorboat of 15 hp or greater if unsupervised. Those 12-15 years of age may operate under supervision of a person 18 or older who is on board. 
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Those with boats and trailers are encouraged to call the California DMV to determine if registration is needed.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in California, visit the California Department of Parks & Recreation.

 

Colorado

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Mandatory boating education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft. 
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: A person 14 years of age or older, who is less than 16 years of age, may operate a motorboat only if he or she completes a boating safety course.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): A person 14 years of age or older, who is less than 16 years of age, may operate a motorboat only if he or she completes a boating safety course.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be titled and registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Colorado, visit Colorado Parks & Wildlife.

 

Connecticut

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Persons must obtain a 'Safe Boating Certificate' or a 'Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation'.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: 12 years old can operate up to 10 hp alone 
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 16 years of age.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Connecticut, visit the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environment Protection.

 

Delaware

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Mandatory boat education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: No age requirement.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 14 to 16 with adult on board with boating class, 16 with a boating class.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be titled and registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Delaware, visit the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control.

 

Florida

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: All Florida residents born after January 1, 1988 who operate powered watercraft 10 hp or greater must carry a Florida Boating Safety Education Identification Card.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 6 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: No age requirement.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): Operators of personal watercraft must be at least 14 years of age. 
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be titled and registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Florida, visit the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

 

Georgia

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: All operators born after January 1, 1998 must have passed a boater education course approved by the Department of Natural Resources and have card on board to operate any vessel.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 13 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: 12 years of age.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 12 years of age.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Georgia, visit the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

 

Hawaii

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: All individuals who operate a motorized vessel, greater than 10 hp must have taken a boating safety course and show proof of certification.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: No age requirement.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 15 years of age.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Hawaii, visit the Department of Land & Natural Resources, Division of Boating & Ocean Recreation.

 

Idaho

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: No mandatory boater safety class educational requirements. However, state has boating law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 14 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: No age requirement.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): No age requirement.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be titled and registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Idaho, visit the Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation.

 

Illinois

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Valid Boating Safety Certificate issued by the Department of Natural Resources or an entity or organization recognized and approved by the Department is required.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 13 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: No age requirement.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): No age requirement.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Illinois, visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

 

Indiana

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Mandatory boating education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft. 
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 13 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: Operator must be 15 years old and meet ID and education requirements or 16 years old or older with a valid motor vehicle drivers license to operate a motorboat with a motor greater than 10 hp.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): Operator must be 15 years old and meet ID and education requirements or 16 years old or older with a valid motor vehicle drivers license to operate a motorboat with a motor greater than 10 hp.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Indiana, visit the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

 

Iowa

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Mandatory boating education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft. 
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 13 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: Minimum age 12 to operate vessel over 10 hp. 
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): Those under age 12 must be accompanied by an adult. 
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Iowa, visit the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

 

Kansas

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Mandatory boating education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft. 
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: 12 years of age for any vessel. 
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 12 years of age for any vessel. 
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be titled and registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Kansas, visit Kansas Wildlife, Parks & Tourism.

 

Kentucky

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Mandatory boating education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft. 
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: Must be 12 years or old to operate 10 hp or greater. 
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 12 years of age. 
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be titled, but not registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Kentucky, visit the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources.

 

Louisiana

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: All persons born after January 1, 1984, must complete a boating education course and carry proof of completion to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 hp.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 16 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: No age requirement.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 16 years with a boating certificate.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered and plated.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Louisiana, visit the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries.

 

Maine

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: No mandatory boating education requirements.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 10 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: When operating a motorboat with more than 10 hp, a person under age 12 must be under immediate supervision of person in boat who is at least 16.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): A person under age 16 may not operate a PWC. A person between 16 & 18 years of age may operate a PWC if they have successfully completed an approved education course, or if they are accompanied by a person 18 years or older. 
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Maine, visit the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife.

 

Maryland

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Mandatory boat education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 13 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: When operating a towing vessel (water skiing, etc.), the operator and observer must be at least 12 years of age.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 16 years of age.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Maryland, visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

 

Massachusetts

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Operators 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 is operated.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: 12 years of age with direct supervision from an adult 18 years of age.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 16 years of age.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered and depending on the weight, may need to be titled.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Massachusetts, visit the Massachusetts Boating Law Summary.

 

Michigan

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Those born on or after July 1, 1996, may operate a boat legally only if they have been issued a boating safety certificate and have it on board the boat. Those born before July 1, 1996, may operate a boat legally without restrictions.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 6 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: No age requirement.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 14 years of age.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered and plated.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Michigan, visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

 

Minnesota

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Mandatory boat education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 10 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: Must be at least 12 years of age to operate motors over 25 hp and must be certified.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 13 years of age.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Trailers that have 3,000 lbs of gross vehicle weight or under must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Minnesota, visit the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

 

Mississippi

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Any person born after June 30, 1980 must complete a Boating Safety Course to operate a boat.  Persons under 12 years of age must be accompanied by a person 21 or older on board the boat in order to operate the boat.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: At least 12 years of age and completed an approved boating safety course.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): At least 12 years of age and completed an approved boating safety course. 
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered and plated.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Mississippi, visit the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources.

 

Missouri

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: All persons born after January 1, 1984, who operate any vessel on the lakes of the State of Missouri must have on board a boating safety identification card issued by the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) and a photo I.D.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 7 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: No age requirement.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 14 years of age unless under the direct, onboard supervision of a parent, guardian, or other person 16 years of age or older. 
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be titled and registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Missouri, visit the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

 

Montana

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Mandatory boat education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: For motorboats over 10 hp: 0-12 must be accompanied by and adult, 13-14 must have certificate or be accompanied by adult, 15+ no requirements. 
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): For PWC over 10 hp: 0-12 must be accompanied by and adult, 13-14 must have certificate or be accompanied by adult, 15+ no requirements. 
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be titled and registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Montana, visit Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

 

Nebraska

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Mandatory boat education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 13 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: 14 years of age.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 14 years of age.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Nebraska, visit Nebraska Game & Parks.

 

Nevada

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Persons born on or after January 1, 1983 will need to have completed a boating education course to operate a motorboat of more than 15 hp on Nevada’s interstate waters.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 13 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: No age requirement.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 14 years of age.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Nevada, visit the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

 

New Hampshire

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Mandatory boat education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: No age requirement.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): If ski craft a minimum of 16 years of age, if PWC must be accompanied by an adult until 16 years of age.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in New Hampshire, visit the New Hampshire Department of Safety.

 

New Jersey

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Mandatory boat education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: 13-15 years of age if vessel powered by electric motor, or if vessel is 12' or greater with engine/engines of less than 10 total hp. 
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 16 years of age and must possess a boating safety certificate.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Trailers weighing less than 2,500 lbs must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in New Jersey, visit the New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety, Marine Services Bureau.

 

New Mexico

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Mandatory boat education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 13 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: 13 years of age.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 13 years of age.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered. Some trailers may also need a weight certificate.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in New Mexico, visit the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish.

 

New York

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Mandatory boat education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: 10 to 18 years of age must have a boating safety certificate to operate alone.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 14 years and older only if they have a boating safety certificate.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in New York, visit the New York State Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation.

 

North Carolina

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Residents born after January 1, 1988 who operate powered watercraft 10 hp or greater, to have completed a NASBLA approved boating safety course.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 13 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: No age requirement.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): No one under 14 years of age may operate a PWC. Persons 14 years old up to 16 years of age may operate if they are accompanied by an adult 18 or older or have a certificate of competency from a NASBLA approved boating education course and some form of ID.  
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in North Carolina, visit the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

 

North Dakota

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Mandatory boat education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 10 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: Minor 12-15 years of age must be state certified to operate over a 10 hp boat without an adult on board. 
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): Minor 12-15 years of age must be state certified to operate over a 10 hp boat without an adult on board. 
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers are not registered in North Dakota.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in North Dakota, visit the North Dakota Game & Fish Department.

 

Ohio

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Mandatory boat education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 10 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: No age requirement.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 12 years of age.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Ohio, visit the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

 

Oklahoma

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Mandatory boat education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 13 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: No person less than 12 years of age may operate any vessel powered by a motor or combination of motors in excess of 10 hp or sail-powered vessel 16 feet or greater in length. A person from 12 to less than 16 years of age may operate such vessels only after successfully completing a NASBLA approved boating education course and if operating a motorboat or sail-powered vessel, must have a competent adult, 18 years of age or older, on board in a position to take control of the vessel if necessary. 
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): No person less than 12 years of age may operate any PWC. A person from 12 to less than 16 years of age may operate a PWC only after successfully completing a NASBLA approved boating education course and must be visually supervised within 500 yards by a competent adult 18 years of age or older. 
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers are not registered in Oklahoma.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Oklahoma, visit the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety.

 

Oregon

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Mandatory boat education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: 16 years of age.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 16 years of age to operate alone.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered, with the exception of those under 1,800 lbs.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Oregon, visit the Oregon State Marine Board.

 

Pennsylvania

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: For persons born on or after January 1, 1982, to operate boats powered by motors greater than 25 hp, Boating Safety Education Certificates are required.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: You must be at least 12 years of age to operate a motorboat greater than 25 hp. 
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 12 years of age and older.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be titled and registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Pennsylvania, visit Pennsylvania Fishing Laws & Regulations.

 

Rhode Island

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Mandatory boat education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 13 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: No age requirement.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): No age requirement.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Rhode Island, visit the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

 

South Carolina

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Boaters under 16 years of age to pass an approved boating education course before operating, without supervision, a personal watercraft (jet ski) or a boat powered by a motor of 15 hp or more.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: No age requirement.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): No age requirement.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers weighing over 2,500 lbs must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in South Carolina, visit the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

 

South Dakota

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: No mandatory boating education requirements.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 7 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: Children under the age of 12 cannot operate a motorboat of more than 6 hp unless accompanied by a person at least 18 years of age. 
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): Minimum age to operate a PWC is 14 unless accompanied by a person at least 18 years of age. 
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers are not registered in South Dakota.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in South Dakota, visit South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks.

 

Tennessee

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Any Tennessee resident born after January 1, 1989 must show the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency issued wallet Boating Safety Education certificate as proof of successful completion of the TWRA boating safety exam.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: No one under 12 unless operating a boat powered by an 8.5 hp or less; person at least 10 but less than 12 and the boat is at least 14 ft and the boat has a motor less than 15 hp.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 12 years of age and older.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers are not registered in Tennessee.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Tennessee, visit the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

 

Texas

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Mandatory boat education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 13 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: 16 years of age if vessel is motorized with greater than 15 hp.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 16 years of age.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Texas, visit Texas Parks & Wildlife.

 

Utah

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Mandatory boat education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: 16 years of age.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 18 years of age unless completed PWC education course.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be titled and registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Utah, visit the Utah State Parks Office.

 

Vermont

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Mandatory boat education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: Any person under the age of 12 cannot operate a motor boat of more than 6 hp.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): Must be 16 years of age or older and have a boating safety certificate. 
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Vermont, visit the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.

 

Virginia

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: All PWC operators age 14 and older and all motorboat operators regardless of age need to take a boating safety course.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 13 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: No age requirement.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): Ages 14 and 15 must pass a NASBLA approved course to operate a PWC.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Virginia, visit the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.

 

Washington

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Washington residents born after January 1, 1955 who operate powered watercraft 15 hp or greater, to carry a Washington Boater Education Card.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: Must be 12 years of age, applies to motorboats with 15 or more hp.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 14 years of age, when rental PWC operator must be 16 years of age.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Washington, visit the Washington State Recreation & Conservation Office.

 

West Virginia

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Anyone born after December 31, 1986 must successfully complete a Boating Safety Education Course before operating a motorboat or personal watercraft.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: No one under 12 may operate a motorboat over 10 hp. 12-15 may operate with an adult on board.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): No one under 12 may operate a motorboat over 10 hp. 12-15 may operate with an adult on board.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in West Virginia, visit the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

 

Wisconsin

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: Anyone born on or after January 1, 1989 is required to complete a boating safety course to legally operate a motorized boat or personal watercraft (PWC) on Wisconsin waters.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 13 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: 12 years of age.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): 12 years of age.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be titled and registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Wisconsin, visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

 

Wyoming

  • Resident License and/or Education Requirement: No mandatory boating education requirements.
  • Life Jacket Requirements: 13 and under must wear a PFD.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Vessel: Under 16 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Minimum Age to Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC): Under 16 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Boat Trailer Registration Requirements: Boat trailers must be registered.

For more information about detailed boating rules, regulations, and laws in Wyoming, visit the Wyoming Game & Fish Department.

 

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Latest Wave of Boating News & Resources

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Inspirational stories, how-to articles, and expert tips for new & experienced boaters

Boating can be a social affair, especially when you raft up with all your boating buddies. Learning how to properly raft up with other boats involves understanding how you secure the boats together, and how you’ll keep your raft of boats in place.

Both new and experienced boaters should all take time to master important safety skills, including how to identify different parts of a boat, read channel markers, tie boating knots, improve boat handling, and understand the "rules of the road."

Take me out to the ballpark–by boat! For great family fun, boating and baseball go hand in hand. These 10 stadiums are right on the water, with dockage nearby, ideal for boaters looking to head to the ballpark by boat. Did your favorite team make the list?