It's the Law

Who May Operate a Vessel


All persons born after January 1, 1974, must complete an approved boating safety education course successfully to operate any motorized vessel legally (this includes personal watercraft).

The boating safety education course must be approved by the Vermont State Police. Those successfully completing a course are issued a certificate by the Vermont State Police, which is valid for the student’s lifetime. No one younger than 12 years of age may receive a certificate. Those younger than 12 years of age must take a classroom course.

Persons required to have completed the course must carry the course certificate on board when operating a motorized vessel.

Those born after January 1, 1974, are exempted from the above if they:

  • Are licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard to operate a commercial vessel or…
  • Operate the vessel only on a private lake or pond or…
  • Are not a resident of Vermont and have proof that they have passed an approved boater education course in another state.

No one under 12 years of age may operate any vessel powered by a motor of more than six horsepower legally, even if the person has completed a boating safety education course successfully.

No one under 16 years of age may operate a PWC legally, even if the person has completed a boating safety education course successfully.

Vermont Safety Education Card
Vermont Safety Education Card