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It's the Law

Operator Age and Education Requirements


Although there is no statewide law specifying a minimum age to operate a vessel, all operators must be competent and are held responsible for knowing the navigation rules. In addition, there are local age regulations, for example in Benewah, Bonner, and Kootenai counties. Be sure to contact the counties and cities where you plan to boat about their local ordinances.

Idaho law requires boater education under these conditions:

  • Personal watercraft (PWC) rental businesses must provide education to each person who will ride and operate the PWC. The operator of the PWC must carry a verification wallet card. The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation provides the education materials to rental businesses.
  • In addition to penalties, boat operators are required to pass a boating course if they are convicted of operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Boat operators who are repeat offenders of any boating law or rule also are required to pass a boating course.