Montana Boating Laws and Regulations

Age and Operator Restrictions

In Montana, youths 13 and 14 years of age may operate a motorboat or a personal watercraft powered by a motor rated at more than 10 horsepower only if:

  • They possess a valid Montana motorboat operator’s safety certificate or…
  • They show evidence of completing another state or organization’s NASBLA-approved boating safety course or…
  • They are accompanied by someone 18 years of age or older.

Enforcement

Montana 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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Take this Montana–approved course to complete your online boating safety education.

Montana Boating safety education card Lifetime Card

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

Frequently Asked Questions