January 2020 Multimedia Michael Dehoyos

You finally bought the boat you’d be eyeing and thinking about buying for a while. If it’s your first boat and you’re not familiar with boating, it’s normal that you have a lot of questions. You might be getting some conflicting information from the person you bought the boat from, and there are a lot of questions that you’d like to clear up. Let’s dive in and explore everything you need to know when you get your first boat in the United States.

Is a boat license required?

It’s possible, a lot of it depends on which state you’re in. Some require licenses, and others don’t, and sometimes it has to do with the age of the owner. Before you begin with the licensing process though, you will need to get it insured, especially if the boat and trailer have some value. Similarly to when you’re buying a car, you’ll want to get the boat insured before you even leave the seller.

If the boat you just purchased is powered through a motor, including a rowboat or a kayak which has an electric motor powering it, you will have to register your boat in the state where you’re a resident. Some states, not all, actually require that all boats are registered regardless of whether they’re powered or not.

Registering your boat is actually completely different than getting your boating license. The registration is something you’ll have to renew each year, like with your vehicle. Simply search your state name and boat registrations and you’ll be able to get started. Remember that you will need the old title and the bill of sale from the person selling you the boat.

According to Melody Harris, a lifestyle writer at Brit Student and Write My X, “the boat license, unlike the registration, is something you need to do only once. You can apply for it anytime, even before you actually buy the boat.”

Is a license required if you completed a boating safety course?

This question causes a lot of new boat owners some confusion. It’s not actually a boating license, in fact. Most states actually require that you take a course on boating safety and pass it successfully before you’re legally allowed to operate a boat.

The certificate you receive when you pass the course is what’s referred to frequently as the license, and certifies you legally to drive the boat. If your course is approved through the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and it’s also recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard, the good news is that your certificate is good for life and will follow you even if you move from state to state without having to reapply.

Some states don’t actually require that you take this course, or only people of a certain age have to take it, as mentioned previously. You can search online to find whether a course is required for you and where you can take it. The course is available online and in-person.

Is a boat license required for operating someone else’s boat?

Similarly, does anyone need a special license to operate the boat you own? It all depends on the state you live in for this guidance. Don Stevens, a business analyst at Australia 2 Write and Next Course Work, explains that “in many states, you do need a boat license to operate another person’s boat, but in some cases, it depends if the operator is under a certain age or not. Search for the specific guidelines for your state online.”

Is a boat license required to go to another state with your boat?

It all depends on the laws in the states you’re going to, in reality. Each state actually recognizes the registration of other states, but you still have to follow that state’s boat operating legislations, which are possibly different from the regulations in your home state. You should bring with you the certificate from your boating safety education class to allow you to operate your own boat, or even someone else’s. If you’re going fishing, though, you should know that you’ll still need a fishing license from that particular state to go fishing.


Writer Bio

Michael Dehoyos, a content marketer and editor for PhD Kingdom and Academic Brits, helps people to develop new marketing goals. He also enjoys writing about lifestyle and sport, particularly boating, fishing, and hunting. Michael’s articles can also be found at Academic Paper Help.

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