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Maine Enacts Safety-Course Requirement for Boaters

Maine residents born after Jan. 1, 1999 are now required to pass a boating-safety course in order to operate a powerboat of 25-hp or greater.

Maine has enacted a new regulation that requires certain boaters to pass a boating-safety course before they can operate a motorized vessel (including personal watercraft) in state waters. The regulation reads as follows: “As of January 1, a person born on or after January 1, 1999, may not operate a powerboat greater than 25 horsepower for recreational boating purposes on inland or territorial waters unless that person is 12 years of age or older and has completed a boater safety and education course.” These courses can be taken online, but must be approved by the state (see beloaw for list of approved course providers and associated cost).

The new regulation was created using the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) educational standards that are recognized in all 50 states and the 6 territories. The Boating Safety Education Course is available both online and in-person. The course duration is about 6 hours and covers the following subjects:  

  • Knowing your boat
  • What to know before you get underway 
  • Operating your boat
  • The legal requirements of boating in Maine
  • Boating emergencies
  • Environmental concerns
  • Enjoying watersports with your boat 

Official Requirements

Beginning January 1, 2024, a person born on or after January 1, 1999, may not operate a motorboat greater than twenty-five (25) horsepower for recreational boating purposes on inland waters of this State or territorial waters, unless that person is 12 years of age or older and has completed a boater safety and education course. These persons must possess and present a boater safety and education course certificate for inspection upon request to a law enforcement officer. There are a few exemptions, such as for registered Maine guides (hunting, fishing, and recreational guides only), commercial fishermen, daily boat renters, and merchant mariners, please see the frequently asked questions section below for more information.  

A person born after January 1, 1999, is also required to complete a boater safety and education course and be at least 16 years of age to operate a personal watercraft (such as a Jetski) on inland waters and territorial waters of the state or to supervise a person under 12 years of age who is operating a motorboat.

Online Boating Education Courses 

There are currently three vendors that provide Maine online boating education courses. Once you have successfully completed this self-paced online course you will immediately be issued a boater safety and education course certificate. The online courses are:

BoatUS Foundation: This foundation is a nonprofit organization that champions boating safety.  This is a free online course that requests a $10 donation.  

Boat-Ed:  This online course costs $34.95.  

Boattests101:  this online course costs $24.95.  

 

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