Operator Age and Education Requirements
The following are the requirements for vessel operators on Tennessee waters.
- Those born after January 1, 1989
- Tennessee residents must successfully complete the TWRA Boating Safety Exam and carry on board the Boating Safety Education Certificate issued by the TWRA when operating a vessel on Tennessee waters. Only the TWRA–issued certificate will be accepted as meeting the requirements of Tennessee law. This does not apply to non-residents.
- Non-residents within this age category must show proof of successful completion of a NASBLA–approved boating safety course.
- Operators of vessels powered by engines of 8.5 horsepower or less and operators of sailboats under sail alone are not required to possess the Boating Safety Education Certificate.
- To operate a motorized vessel of more than 8.5 horsepower
- Those less than 12 years old must have a supervisor on board who is at least 18 years old and able to take immediate control of the vessel. The supervisor, if born after January 1, 1989, also must have a Boating Safety Education Certificate issued by TWRA.
- Those 12 years old or older operating alone must have a Boating Safety Education Certificate issued by TWRA.
- Those under 16 years of age may not rent a personal watercraft (PWC).