The Minnesota Legislature in the 2023 session expanded Minnesota’s existing Boater Education requirements to all boat operators aged 12 and up, born on or after July 1, 1987. MN COLA was a leader in building consensus across a diverse group of stakeholders to help make the law reality.
Click here for more information about this great step forward for safer boating on Minnesota waters.
The Minnesota Legislature in the 2023 session expanded Minnesota’s existing Boater Education Program to all boat operators aged 12 and up, born on or after July 1, 1987. Minnesota’s previous boater education requirement was for youth (ages 12-17).
A watercraft operator’s license has been a cornerstone of MN COLA’s Legislative Agenda for years. MN COLA’s consensus building throughout the water community over numerous legislative sessions helped make this law reality.
The MN DNR will be establishing a working group to create and implement the program. The program will cover core safety education in the areas of waterway rules, user conflict reduction, and towing responsibility. It will also provide important lake ecology education on preventing the spread of AIS and understanding how excessive wake height and powerful propeller thrust can negatively impact shoreline erosion, lake bottom habitat, and water quality—all of which are pressing issues for most lakeshore owners. The required boater operator education will help calibrate all Minnesota boaters’ knowledge with
current information and research, and increase the likelihood that users operate their watercraft in an informed, responsible, and respectful manner.
The requirement is phased in and effective:
- July 1, 2025, if born on or after July 1, 2004;
- July 1, 2026, if born on or after July 1, 2000;
- July 1, 2027, if born on or after July 1, 1996;
- July 1, 2028, if born on or after July 1, 1987.
Other details of the requirement include:
- Boats with a 25hp or less do not require Boater Education and Certification to operate;
- Youth Boaters (ages 12-17) limited to 75 hp motors;
- Watercraft owner is responsible for operation of watercraft;
- Rental business requirements which include administering a “short boater safety exam” to operators without a MN certification;
- Program can be administered electronically or on paper.