Boat License Requirements

Any person from 12-17 years of age, is required to obtain a Minnesota Watercraft Operator’s Permit, commonly called a boat license, to operate a motorized boat over 25 horsepower.

Non-residents who already possess an Operator’s Certificate or permit issued by their home state, do not need to obtain another one from Minnesota.

Operator’s Permit education materials can be obtained from the MDNR, sheriff’s offices, marine dealers or online.

Minnesota’s Age and Horsepower Restrictions

A person under 12 years of age:

  • May operate a motorized boat of 25 horsepower or less.
  • May operate a boat of 25-75 horsepower so long as they have someone at least 21 years of age on board with them who may take direct control.
  • Is restricted from operating a boat of more than 75 horsepower (even with adult supervision).

Age and Horsepower

A person 12-17 years of age:

  • May operate a motorized boat of 25 horsepower or less.
  • May operate a boat over 25 horsepower if they have either a Watercraft Operator’s Permit, or they have someone at least 21 years of age on board with them who may take direct control.

Personal Watercraft Age Restrictions

A person under 13 years of age:

  • Is restricted from operating a PWC (even with adult supervision).

A person 13 years of age:

  • May operate a PWC so long as they have someone at least 21 years of age on board with them,  or they have their Minnesota Watercraft Operator’s Permit and are operating within view of someone at least 21 years of age.

A person 14-17 years of age:

  • May operate a PWC so long as they have their Minnesota Watercraft Operator’s Permit, or they have someone at least 21 years of age on board with them.
START NOW