Minnesota Boating Laws and Regulations

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.

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.

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.

Reciprocity

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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