Minnesota Boating Laws and Regulations

Passing this Boating license course will complete your online safety education for Minnesota.

Do you need Minnesota Boating education?

Minnesota

You need education if you are 12 to 17 years old, are unsupervised, and will be operating a boat over 25 hp in Minnesota. You also need education if you are 14 to 17 years old, are unsupervised, and will be operating a PWC.

You must be at least 12 years old to take this online course.

You do not have to be a resident of Minnesota to take this online course.

Elsewhere

Boating education is currently required in several U.S. states and Canadian provinces.

Exemptions

Motorboat operators 12 to 17 years of age, who are visiting Minnesota and who already possess a valid watercraft operator’s certificate/permit issued by their home state don’t need to obtain another one from Minnesota.

Age and Operator Restrictions

Children less than 13 years old may not operate a PWC, even with an adult on board.

PWC operators 13 years of age must have either someone at least 21 years old on board, or a Watercraft Operator's Permit and be under visual supervision by someone at least 21 years old.

PWC operators 14 to 17 years of age must have either someone at least 21 years old on board, or a Watercraft Operator's Permit.

Motorboat operators 12 to 17 years of age who wish to operate engines over 25 horsepower must have either a Watercraft Operator's Permit, or someone at least 21 years old on board within reach of the controls.

Enforcement

Minnesota 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.

Is the Boating Card the same as the Boating License?

The Minnesota Boater Education Certificate is proof that you have successfully completed all of the components of an approved Boating safety course and allows you to go boating. Because the Boating education card or certificate does not expire and does not need to be renewed, it is not called the Minnesota Boating License.

Even if not required by law to get the Minnesota boating education card, many boaters take the boat safety course in order to save on their PWC or boat insurance.

Do your part to make boating in Minnesota an enjoyable pastime! Become an educated, responsible boater by completing the Boat Minnesota course, and practice what you learn.

Reciprocity

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.”)

Need help? Here are the answers to the questions Minnesota Boating students most frequently ask.

Frequently Asked Questions