Minimum Ages for Non-PWC Vessels
[Table 2.8]

 

State

Does your state set a minimum age requirement to operate a motor powered vessel other than a PWC?

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, please list the required age and any other details such as horsepower rating.

Does your state set any minimum age requirements to operate a PWC?

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, please list the requirements.

Alabama

Yes 

12 years old or older to operate any type vessel. 12 and 13 years olds must have someone 21 years old or older, who is a licensed operator, on board and within reach of the controls. 14 years old or older to operate alone. 

Yes 

12 years old or older to operate any type vessel. 12 and 13 years olds must have someone 21 years old or older, who is a licensed operator, on board and within reach of the controls. 14 years old or older to operate alone. 

Alaska

No 

 

No 

 

American Samoa

N/A 

 

Yes 

18 

Arizona

Yes 

It is illegal for a person under the age of 12 to operate a vessel with a motor greater than 8 horsepower (which includes personal watercraft) unless: An emergency exists or ‚Ķ Another person at least 18 years of age is on board. 

Yes 

Arizona law states that it is illegal for a person under the age of 12 to operate a vessel with a motor greater than 8 horsepower (which includes personal watercraft) unless: An emergency exists or ‚Ķ Another person at least 18 years of age is on board. 

Arkansas

No 

To operate a motorboat powered by 10hp or more: A person under 12 must have BE and be under direct visible and audible supervision of a parent, guardian or person over 17 years.  

Yes 

14yrs to operate by themselves as long as they are BE certified. Persons 12 or 13 years must have BE and have a person at least 18yrs on board. Under 12 must have BE and have a person at least 21yrs on board and in a position to take immediate control of the PWC. 

Australia

 

 

 

 

British Columbia

 

 

 

 

California

Yes 

Must be 16 or older to operate a motorboat of 15 HP or greater if unsupervised. Those 12-15 years of age may operate under supervision of a person 18 or older who is on board. 

Yes 

Must be 16 or older to operate a motorboat of 15 HP or greater if unsupervised. Those 12-15 years of age may operate under supervision of a person 18 or older who is on board. 

Colorado

yes 

A person 14 YOA or older, who is less than 16 YOA, may operate a motorboat only if he or she completes a boating safety course 

yes 

A person 14 YOA or older, who is less than 16 YOA, may operate a motorboat only if he or she completes a boating safety course 

Connecticut

Yes 

under 12 years old can operate up to 10hp alone 

Yes 

16 

Delaware

No 

 

Yes 

14 to 16 with adult on board with boating class, 16 with a boating class 

District of Columbia

No 

 

No 

 

Florida

No 

 

Yes 

Operators of personal watercraft must be at least 14 years of age. 

Georgia

Yes 

 

Yes 

12 years of age 

Guam

No 

 

Yes 

Under 16 must have visual supervision 

Hawaii

No 

 

Yes 

15 

Idaho

No 

 

No 

 

Illinois

No  

 

No  

 

Indiana

Yes 

Operator must be 15 yrs old and meet ID and education requirements or 16 yrs old or older with a valid motor vehicle drivers license to operate a motorboat with a motor greater than 10 hsp. 

Yes 

Same as #27 

Iowa

Yes 

Minimum age 12 to operate vessel over 10 h.p. 

Yes 

Those under age 12 must be accompanied by an adult. 

Kansas

Yes 

12 years of age for any vessel 

Yes 

12 years of age 

Kentucky

Yes 

Must bet 12 years or old to operate 10 horse power or greater. 

Yes 

Must be 12 years or older 

Louisiana

No 

 

Yes 

16 with a boating certification 

Maine

Yes 

when operating a motorboat with more than 10 hp, a person under age 12 must be under immediate supervison of person in boat who is at least 16. 

Yes 

A person under age 16 may not operate a PWC. A person between 16 & 18 years of age may operate a PWC if they have successfully completed an approved education course, or if they are accompanied by a person 18 years or older. 

Manitoba (Canada)

 

 

 

 

Maryland

Yes 

When operating a towing vessel (water skiing, etc.), the operator and observer must be at least 12 years of age. 

Yes 

16 

Massachusetts

 

 

 

 

Michigan

No 

 

Yes 

Age 14 and older 

Minnesota

Yes 

Must be at least 12 (except for PWC - that age is 13) and to operate motors over 25 HP - person must be certifed. 

Yes 

13 

Mississippi

Yes 

at least 12 and completed an approved boating safety course 

Yes 

at least 12 and completed an approved boating safety course 

Missouri

No 

 

Yes 

14 unless under the direct, onboard supervision of a parent, guardian, or other person 16 years of age or older. 

Montana

Yes 

For motorboats over 10 hp: 0-12 must be accompanied by and adult, 13-14 must have certificate or be accompanied by adult, 15+ no requirements. 

Yes 

For PWC over 10 hp: 0-12 must be accompanied by and adult, 13-14 must have certificate or be accompanied by adult, 15+ no requirements. 

Nebraska

Yes 

14 

Yes 

14 

Nevada

No 

 

Yes 

14 years old 

New Hampshire

No 

 

Yes 

if ski craft a minimum of 16 years of age, if pwc must be accompanied by an adult until 16 years of age 

New Jersey

Yes 

13-15 YOA vessel powered by elec motor, or if vessel is 12'or greater with engine/engines of less than 10 total HP 

Yes 

16 YOA + possess a boating safety certificate 

New Mexico

Yes 

13 

Yes 

13 

New York

Yes 

10 to 18 must have a boating safety certificate to operate alone 

Yes 

14 yrs and older only if they have a boating safety certificate 

North Carolina

No 

 

Yes 

No one under 14 years of age may operate a PWC. Persons 14 years old up to 16 years of age may operate if they are accompanied by an adult 18 or older or have a certificate of competency from a NASBLA approved boating education course and some form of ID.  

North Dakota

Yes 

Minor 12-15 years must be state certified to operate over a ten horsepower boat without an adult on board. 

Yes 

Minor 12-15 years must be state certified to operate over a ten horsepower boat without an adult on board. 

Northern Mariana Islands

Yes 

16, All motorized 

Yes 

16 as with an operators license 

Ohio

No 

 

Yes 

Must be at least 12 years old. 

Oklahoma

Yes 

No person less than 12 YOA may operate any vessel powered by a motor or combination of motors in excess of 10 HP or sail-powered vessel 16 feet or greater in length. A person from 12 to less than 16 YOA may operate such vessels only after successfully completing a NASBLA approved boating education course and if operating a motorboat or sail-powered vessel, must have a competent adult, 18 years of age or older, on board in a position to take control of the vessel if necessary. 

Yes 

No person less than 12 YOA may operate any PWC. A person from 12 to less than 16 YOA may operate a PWC only after successfully completing a NASBLA approved boating education course and must be visually supervised within 500 yards by a competent adult 18 years of age or older. 

Ontario (Canada)

 

 

 

 

Oregon

Yes 

See#20  

Yes 

16 years of age to operate alone 

Pennsylvania

Yes 

You must be at least 12 years of age to operate a motorboat greater than 25 horsepower. 

Yes 

12 

Puerto Rico

Yes 

12 years 

Yes 

from 12 to 14 any certify minor can operate a PWC accompany by an adult 

Quebec (Canada)

 

 

 

 

Rhode Island

No 

 

No 

 

South Carolina

No 

 

No 

 

South Dakota

Yes 

Children under the age of 12 cannot operate a motorboat of more than 6 horsepower unless accompanied by a person at least 18 years of age. 

Yes 

Minimum age to operate a pwc is 14 unless accompanied by a person at least 18 years of age. 

Tennessee

Yes 

No one under 12 unless operating a boat powered by an 8.5 HP or less, person at least 10 but less than 12 and the boat is at least 14 ft and the boat has a motor less than 15 HP 

Yes 

No one under the age of 12 

Texas

Yes 

Minimum Age = 16 Vessels = Motorized with greater than 15 horsepower 

Yes 

16 

Utah

Yes 

16 

Yes 

18 unless completed PWC education course 

Vermont

Yes 

Any person under the age of 12 can not operate a motor boat of more than 6 horse power. 

Yes 

Must be 16 years of age or older and have a boating safety certificate. 

Virgin Islands

 

 

 

 

Virginia

No 

 

Yes 

ages 14 and 15 must pass a NASBLA approved course to operate a PWC 

Washington

Yes 

must be 12 years of age, applies to motorboats with 15 or more horsepower 

Yes 

14 years of age, when rental PWC operator must be 16 years of age 

West Virginia

Yes 

No one under 12 may operate a motorboat over 10 HP. 12-15 may operate with an adult on board. Includes PWCs 

Yes 

See question #27 

Wisconsin

Yes 

Age 12 

Yes 

Age 12 

Wyoming

Yes 

under 16 w/adult 

Yes 

under 16 w/adult