Who needs a Maryland Boating License?

Any person born after July 1st, 1972, who is operating a boat on Maryland waters is required to carry  a Certificate of Boating Safety Education, commonly called a boating license, while operating a boat.

The Certificate may be obtained by completing an approved Boating Safety Course or by passing an equivalency examination approved by the Maryland Natural Resources Police. Once obtained, the certification is good for life.


  • Anyone licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard to operate a commercial boat.
  • Residents of another state who are boating on Maryland waters for 60 days or less, in a boat that is properly registered in their home state, who are at least 16 years of age or have proof that they have passed a NASBLA-approved Boating Safety Education Course.
  • Anyone visiting Maryland for 90 days or less in a boat from a foreign country.
  • A person operating a boat on a private lake or pond.

Maryland’s Age and Horsepower Restrictions

Persons under 12 years of age:

Persons under 12 years of age are not permitted to operate a boat that is towing any other person on waterskis, an aquaplane, a parasail or other similar device.

Persons under 16 years of age:

As of October 1, 2010, any person under 16 years of age, who is operating a motorized boat that is 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 who was born before July 1, 1972.

If an individual under the age of 16 is operating a motorized boat under 11 feet in length, a person of any age possessing a valid Boating Safety Certificate can provide supervision.