Captain a boat

Can I Legally Drive a Boat in My State?

Written by Boatsetter Team
March 31, 2018

Last Updated on May 20, 2022 by Boatsetter Team

A Guide to Getting the Captain’s License

Have you ever wanted to be the boat captain? Now when you can rent a boat, this dream can quickly become a reality. However possible, becoming a captain of a boat is not an easy process. You would have to check all the regulations and permits that are obliged by each state’s laws. Don’t rush before you rent a boat without a captain, because you should check before if you can legally drive a boat in your state. In order to enjoy this experience, make sure you have done everything correctly. Here are some of the factors that can help you in the process of finding out whether you can legally operate a boat in your state.

Check the Requirements Concerning the Boat Size

The size of the vessel is one of the most important factors that will influence whether you will need the permit to be a captain. You don’t need a special license to maneuver paddle boats or small boats that can be used for sailing. The boats that require a permit and a lot of practice behind the steering wheel are luxury yachts and large sailboats. This kind of vessel allows more people on the deck, hence making the captain responsible for them too. What you can do is rent a boat and hire a captain so you can have firsthand experience on what it means to captain a boat. If you decide that yachts are right for you, take additional classes and training in order to get a permit and then truly enjoy the ride.

What is Powering the Boat, Motor, or Sails?

If you ever wondered what powering has to do with your permit, the answer is here. Regardless of the size, if the wind propels your vessel, there is no need to obtain a permit. When you look at the general idea, you are not the one that actually moves the vehicle. In this case, the wind does it. However, all the vessels that are powered by a motor are vehicles that require a permit, so make sure you decide which kind of powering you want. Rent a boat with a captain and let him show you the ropes because practice makes perfect.

Boat Horsepower

Horsepower indicates how strong a boat is. If you rent a small fishing boat whose horsepower does not exceeds more than a hundred, you will not be asked for a permit. As soon as that number is higher, a permit becomes essential, and you will have to be careful. Of course, everything is up to you, but if you want a powerful machine, you will have to apply for a captain permit.

Your Age

What the age has to do with it? Well, a lot. The age limit for maneuvering a vessel differs in many states. In most cases, the number is eighteen. It is mostly considered that, if you have a driving license or a pilot license, you can sign up for getting a permit to drive a boat. Before renting a boat, we advise you to check with the local authorities what is the age limit in your country.

What You Need For a Captain’s License

Usually, the necessary things for obtaining a captain’s license vary from state to state. However, you will definitely need your ID and passing the test, just like you did for a driver’s license. If you take this matter seriously, you will get all the required information from the local services.

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