Do I Need a Boating License in My State?

Not all states require you to have a license to operate a boat. However, before you go boating, you obviously should know whether you need a license in your state or not.

Does my state require a boating license?

Most states require the operator of a boat to complete a boating education course to obtain a boating card or license. Here’s a list of states from M-O and whether or not they require a boating license. States from A-L and states from P-W are covered in separate posts.

NOTE: Laws, statutes and regulations are subject to change. The information listed below is current as of this publication (2021). However, you should always check your state’s boating laws for amendments. The laws listed below pertain to adults. Boating laws pertaining to children also vary by state.

Boating License Requirements List: States from A thru L


Maine

Does not require boat operators to complete any boating education courses or to have a boating license.

Boating license by state Maine


Maryland

Requires all boat operators to complete a boating safety course and carry a certificate of boating safety education.

Anyone born before July 1st, 1972 is exempt from this requirement.

Boating license by state Maryland


Massachusetts

Does not require boat operators over 15 to complete any boater education courses or to have a boater license. Requires all boat operators aged 12 to 15 to complete a boater education course and carry a certificate proving completion.

Boating license by state Massachusetts


Michigan

Requires all boat operators to complete a boating safety course and carry a boating safety certificate.

Anyone born before July 1st, 1996 is exempt from this requirement.

Boating license by state Michigan


Minnesota

Does not require boat operators over 17 to complete any boater education courses or to have a boater license. Requires all boat operators aged 12 to 17 to complete a boater education course and carry a Minnesota youth water operator permit.

Boating license by state Minnesota


Mississippi

Requires all boat operators to complete a boating safety course and carry a certificate or card proving completion.

Anyone born before June 30th, 1980 is exempt from this requirement.

Boating license by state Mississippi


Missouri

Requires all boat operators to complete a Missouri Boater Education Class and carry a Missouri Boater Certification Card.

Anyone born before January 1st, 1984 is exempt from this requirement.

Boating license by state Missouri


Montana

Does not require boat operators over 14 to complete any boater education courses or to have a boater license. Requires all boat operators aged 13 to 14 to complete a boater education course and carry a certificate proving completion.

Boating license by state Montana


Nebraska

Requires all boat operators to complete a boating safety course and carry a certificate or card proving completion.

Anyone born before January 1st, 1985 is exempt from this requirement.

Boating license by state Nebraska


Nevada

Requires all boat operators to complete a boating education course and carry a certificate or card proving completion.

Anyone born before January 1st, 1983 is exempt from this requirement.

Boating license by state Nevada


New Jersey

Requires all boat operators to complete a boating education course and carry a New Jersey Boat Safety Certificate. In addition, boaters using fresh, non-tidal waters must also have a Non-Tidal Boat License issued by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and a New Jersey Boat Safety Certificate. 

Boating license by state New Jersey


New Mexico

Requires all boat operators to complete a boating education course and carry a boater education card.

Anyone born before January 1st, 1989 is exempt from this requirement.

Boating license by state New Mexico


North Carolina

Requires all boat operators to complete a boating education course and carry a certificate or card proving completion.

Anyone born before January 1st, 1988 is exempt from this requirement.

Boating license by state North Carolina


North Dakota

Does not require boat operators over 15 to complete any boater education courses or to have a boater license. Requires all boat operators aged 12 to 15 to complete a boater education course and carry a certificate proving completion.

Boating license by state North Dakota


Ohio

Requires all boat operators to complete a boating education course and carry a certificate or card proving completion.

Anyone born before January 1st, 1982 is exempt from this requirement.

Boating license by state Ohio


Oklahoma

Does not require boat operators over 15 to complete any boater education courses or to have a boater license. Requires all boat operators aged 12 to 15 to complete a boater education course and carry a certificate proving completion.

Boating license by state Oklahoma


Oregon

Requires all boat operators to complete a boating safety course and carry a boater education card. Does not require boat operators to have a boating license.

Boating license by state Oregon


Do you need a boating license in your state? See the list of states from Alabama to Louisiana and states from Pennsylvania to Wyoming.

 

 

Why Boats.net?

Commercial Discounts

Special discounts for companies in the marine industry

Details

Government Sales

Discounts for federal and most state and municipal agencies

Details