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Indiana Boating Laws and Regulations

Age and Operator Restrictions

No one under 15 years of age may legally operate a motorboat greater than 10 hp or a PWC.

Boaters who are 15 years of age may operate a motorboat or PWC until they become a licensed driver only if they complete a boater education course approved by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and have on board an ID card issued by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).

A person who has never been licensed by the BMV must complete an approved boater education course successfully and have on board an ID issued by the Indiana BMV to operate a motorboat legally.

All other motorboat or PWC operators must have a valid vehicle driver’s license to operate on all Indiana public waters.


Indiana law enforcement officers patrol the waterways to make your boating experience safe and pleasant. Cooperate with them by following the laws and guidelines.

Carry the Card: Vessel operators who are required to have a Boater Education Card must carry the card on board the vessel and have it available for inspection by an enforcement officer.

Penalty: Not carrying your Boater Education Card when one is required can result in a fine.


For visiting boaters, all states, territories, and provinces will recognize boating education cards that meet NASBLA requirements and Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator Cards that meet Transport Canada’s requirements. (This is known as “reciprocity.”)

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Take this Indiana–approved course to complete your online boating safety education. is a delegated provider for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

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