Minimum age to operate a boat in MD

alk

Administrator
Staff member
Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2001
Messages
953
Hope people still check this dead forum ?

I have been combing the DNR site for a while, and can't quite figure out if MD has a minimum age to operate a boat. I was able to find that you must be 16 for a pwc. And if you did not pass a safety class, and you are under 16, you must have someone on board who is 48 years or older, or has a safety certificate. But what if you are 15, and have passed a safety class? Can you operate a boat? Unsupervised?

”As of October 1, 2010, anyone under the age of 16, operating a motorized vessel 11 feet in length or greater WITHOUT a valid boating safety certificate, must be under the supervision of an individual 18 years of age or older who possesses a valid boating safety certificate or an individual born before July 1, 1972.”
 
Last edited:

32carv

Active member
Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2006
Messages
1,299
https://www.boat-ed.com/maryland/boating_law.html
 

jpowell

Member
Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2004
Messages
327
16 year old cannot operate a boat by their self. Minimum age is 18 and you musty take the training class.
 

alk

Administrator
Staff member
Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2001
Messages
953
Minimum age is 18? I didn’t see that anywhere on the dnr site.

And the boat-Ed site has the same text I copied. But it only Tells me that under 16 can’t operate a pwc even if they have a certificate.

It also says anyone under 16 without a certificate can’t operate a boat without supervision

But what if they do have a certificate, and don’t want to operate a pwc, just a boat? Practically need to hire a lawyer just to decipher this.
 

jpowell

Member
Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2004
Messages
327
MD DNR states you can run a boat at 16 but it must be under the supervision of someone 18 or older.
 

alk

Administrator
Staff member
Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2001
Messages
953
I can’t find that on the dnr site, or anywhere else. In this ‘book’

https://dnr.maryland.gov/nrp/Documents/BoatingSafety/recreationvessels.pdf.

“ The law requires that any person born on, or after July 1, 1972, must have in their possession a certificate of boating safety education while operating a numbered or documented vessel on Maryland waters. The certificate may be obtained by completing an approved boating safety course or passing an equivalency examination.....

“As of Oct. 1, 2010, anyone under the age of 16 operating a motorized vessel 11 feet in length or greater without a valid boating safety certificate must be supervised by an individual 18 years of age or older who possesses a valid boating safety certificate or an individual born before July 1, 1972“

The only mention of age is talking about people WITHOUT a valid boater safety certificate. My kids aren’t going to get near the controls until they have a valid safety certificate.

Not sure I will let them, but nothing I can find says they aren’t allowed to.
.

I have to say, this is really a messed up regulation. First paragraph says everyone who is under 48 years old must have a safety certificate to operate a vessel, but next paragraph says a child under 16, with no minimum age ever stated, can operate a vessel without a safety certificate as long as there is an adult with a certificate ( or over 48 years old /grandfathered) on the boat.

Who comes up with this stuff? It’s like saying any ten year old can drive a car, as long as daddy is with him. But once he turns sixteen, he had has to get a drivers license to drive his father around. Makes no sense at all. Or am I misreading it? What’s next, let em drink and drive he boat, but only if they are under 21? :)
 

alk

Administrator
Staff member
Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2001
Messages
953
It says “ anyone under the age of 16...WITHOUT a.. certificate must be supervised by an individual 18 years of age or older”

So based on that text, anyone under 16 WITH a certificate does not require supervision? Else why would not just say “anyone under 16 requires supervision” ?

In other words, what is the age regulation for people who have the certificate? They never say.

I tried to call them for a clarification, but offices closed.
 

cwms

Moderator
Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2002
Messages
2,336
If this helps, anyone can take a course and get their boating license at https://boattests101.com/
Online classes are ok, but an actual class is a lot better. Check to see if there are any Coast Guard Aux or US Power Squadron classes offered in your area and take it. After the safety class, check into the Seamanship class both offer. Well worth the time and effort.
 

alk

Administrator
Staff member
Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2001
Messages
953
Thanks. My question last year, which I’m still not sure of, is what is the minimum age to operate a vessel in MD for those that HAVE a safety certificate. Where to best get the certificate is a whole other topic.

but that was a year ago, now that they have reached 16, does not really matter ( to me).
 
Top