Earn a Massachusetts Boating Safety Certificate
Who Needs a Boating Safety Certificate?
Do you have a child under the age of 18? If so, he or she will need to meet certain requirements to operate a boat on Massachusetts waters. Massachusetts does not require a boaters license. However, minors may need to have and to carry onboard a Boating Safety Certificate. Passing an approved basic boating course – such as the United States Power Squadrons® America’s Boating Course – is necessary to be issued a Boating Safety Certificate. Massachusetts law spells out requirements depending on what kind of boat and the age of the operator. Here are the basic rules:
HUMAN PROPELLED BOATS Paddleboards, kayaks, canoes and rowboats, etc. may be operated by anyone, at any age.
SAILBOATS May be operated by anyone, at any age, UNLESS they are fitted with a motor.
MOTORBOATS Motor/power boats are those propelled by any of the traditional motors —outboard, inboard, gas, diesel or electric. See below for water jets (Personal Water Craft or PWC).
- Persons under 12 years may operate a motorboat only if accompanied on board and directly supervised by a competent person of 18 years or older.
- Persons 12 through 15 years may operate a motorboat only if they:
- Have passed a state approved basic boating course and received a Boating Safety Certificate, OR
- Are accompanied on board and directly supervised by a competent person 18 years or older.
- Persons 12 through 15 years operating without adult supervision must carry their Boating Safety Certificate when underway.
- Persons 16 years or older may operate a motorboat without restrictions.
PERSONAL WATER CRAFT (PWC) In Massachusetts special rules apply to water jet propelled craft.
- Persons under 16 years of age may not operate a PWC under any circumstances.
- Persons of 16 or 17 years of age may operate a PWC only if they have passed a state approved basic boating course and received a Boating Safety Certificate.
- Persons 16 through 17 years must carry their Boating Safety Certificate when underway.
- Persons 18 years or older may operate a PWC without restrictions.
Additional state laws apply for operating your boat on ponds, children’s life jackets, required boat safety equipment and more. Click here for the Massachusetts Boating Law Summary. Among federal regulations are safe vessel condition and operating near other boats (the Rules of the Road). You should also know about weather, first aid, towing and other best practices on the water. All this is covered in our America’s Boating Course (the ABCs), which is honored by Massachusetts (and all other states) for their basic boat licensing requirements.
America’s Boating Course (the ABCs)
Boating is fabulous family activity. But you shouldn’t leave the dock without basic boating skills. As next season approaches, be sure you have the right safety equipment, know the Rules of the Road, and are prepared for the unexpected. Whether you own a paddle boat, sail boat, or powerboat, this course is designed for both skippers and crew alike. Plus, it is approved for a Massachusetts Boating Safety Certificate. The United States Power Squadrons® have taught basic boating courses to well over one million students!
Spring 2018 • Two Courses to Choose From
5 Consecutive Wednesdays:
April 4, 11, 18, 25 & May 2
|6:30 – 9:30 p.m.||Warren Building|
90 Washington Street (Rte 16)
|Info & Registration Details (PDF)|
5 Consecutive Tuesdays:
May 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29, 2018
|6:30 – 9:30 p.m.||Needham High School|
609 Webster St
|Info & Registration Details (PDF)|