Who needs a Missouri Boat License?

All persons born after January 1, 1984, who wish to operate a boat on Missouri waters are required to carry one of the following on board the boat:

  • A Boating Safety Identification Card, commonly called a boat license (from a NASBLA-approved course) issued by the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP).
  • A valid master’s, mate’s, or operator’s license issued by the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • A Missouri driver’s license, or a non-driver’s license, with a boating safety endorsement  issued by the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP).

Boat License Exemptions:

  • Those licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard to serve as master of a vessel.
  • Those who operate a boat only on a private lake or pond that is not classified as waters of the state.
  • Operators participating in an event or regatta approved by the water patrol.
  • Non-residents who have proof of a valid Boating Certificate or license issued by another state (as long as the Boating Course is NASBLA-approved).
  • Those exempted by rule of the water patrol.
  • Those currently serving in any branch of the United States Armed Forces, reserves, or Missouri National Guard, or any spouse of a person currently in such service.
  • Any operator who has previously successfully completed a NASBLA-approved Boating Safety Education Course.

Missouri’s Age and Horsepower Restrictions

It is illegal for any person under 14 years of age to operate any motorized boat or vessel upon the Missouri waters unless they are under the direct, on board supervision of a parent, guardian or other person, who is 16 years of age or older, or unless the motorized boat is moored.

Additionally, it is illegal to allow a person who is under the minimum age to operate a motorized boat while unattended.