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Course Outline

The following are the requirements for vessel operators on Rhode Island waters.

  • All those born on or after January 1, 1986, are required to pass an approved boater education course before they legally may operate any vessel powered by a motor of more than 10 horsepower.
  • Anyone operating a personal watercraft (PWC), regardless of age, must have passed an approved boater education course.
  • The boater education course must be one that is approved by the DEM.
  • Operators who are required to have passed a boater education course must carry on board their certificate of completion. The DEM will issue certificates of completion to boaters passing approved courses.
  • Operators of vessels other than PWC are exempt from the requirements above for any of the following reasons.
    • They are supervised on board by a person 18 years of age or older who has met the education requirements or...
    • They hold a valid commercial vessel operator’s license or...
    • They are not a resident of Rhode Island and meet the requirements of their state of residence or...
    • They have been a resident of Rhode Island for 60 days or less or...
    • They are operating a rented vessel and have successfully completed the requirements for renters (renters of vessels powered by a motor of more than 10 horsepower must watch an instructional video and pass a written examination prior to operation).
  • There are no exemptions for PWC operators. All PWC operators must have passed an approved boating safety course in Rhode Island or their state of residence.
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