New Mexico Boating Laws and Regulations

Age and Operator Restrictions

All persons must be at least 13 years of age to operate a sailboat, motorboat, or PWC unless they are under the direct, on board supervision of an adult.

Those under 13 years of age must have their New Mexico Boater Education Certificate on board even when operating under direct supervision.

Exemptions

Operators are exempt if they:

  • Possess a valid license issued by the U.S. Coast Guard or…
  • Are renting the motorboat for 30 days or fewer and have received instructions on safe boat operation and a summary of boating law from the rental company.

Enforcement

New Mexico 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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Frequently Asked Questions