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It's the Law

Who May Operate a Vessel


A vessel powered by 25 horsepower or less does not require the operator to have a Safe Boater Education Certificate.

A “ski craft” (see definition) may be operated only by persons who are 16 years old or older and who have a valid Safe Boater Education Certificate.

A vessel powered by more than 25 horsepower (other than a “ski craft”) may be operated by:

  • A person under 16 years of age only if he or she is accompanied by a person 18 years old or older who has a valid Safe Boater Education Certificate. The accompanying person is responsible for any injury or damage caused during operation of the vessel.
  • A person 16 years of age or older only if he or she has obtained a Safe Boater Education Certificate.

A New Hampshire Safe Boater Education Certificate may be obtained by persons 16 years of age or older only and must be carried on board.

  • New Hampshire also accepts the following boating education certificates:
    • A boating certificate issued by, and on behalf of, another State agency and NASBLA approved
    • A boating certificate issued by the U.S. Power Squadron
    • A boating certificate issued by the USCG Auxiliary
    • An unexpired commercial boating license issued by the USCG
    • An unexpired commercial boating license issued by the State of New Hampshire
    • A certificate issued in Canada that has been approved by Transport Canada
  • If you wish to operate a motorboat on New Hampshire waters and you do not have any of the above certificates, please visit our website www.boatingeducation.nh.gov, or call us at 1-888-254-2125.

Boater Education Certification...

Is required for all operators of vessels powered by more than 25 horsepower.