The Law

• There are rules for operating a boat just as there are rules for driving a car.
• You must be at least 16 years old to operate a motorboat unsupervised. It’s the law.
• A person 12 to 15 years old may operate such a vessel if they are supervised on board by someone at least 18 years old.
• Always wear a properly fitting, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

• Law states that all children under 13 years of age must wear a properly fitting U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket while underway on a vessel of 26 ft. or less.
• The law also says that any person on board a personal watercraft (like a Jet Ski) or any person being towed behind a vessel (as in water skiing or kneeboarding) must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
• It is important to wear a life jacket as it is for you to wear a seatbelt or for athletes to wear the right protective equipment.

• Any fire or smoking near boat fuel, motor, or gasoline pumps is dangerous.
• Learn the right-of-way – when crossing paths, the boat to your right has the right-of-way.
• Give sailboats and paddlecraft the right-of-way.

• Observe speed limits and restricted zones - 5 MPH within 100 feet of the swimmer or 200 feet from a beach or docked boat.

• Obey buoys and signs.

• If you are water skiing there must be a boat operator and an observer on board.


• Do not come close to, or enter, a swimming area with a boat.
• Do not come close to water-skiers or fishermen.
• Do not block the boat ramp where boaters are entering or exiting the water.
• Do not spray people on the dock or in other boats with boat or water-ski wake (waves made by a passing boat or water-skier)
• Do not race the boat motor near homes; the noise may bother the neighbors especially noise from personal watercraft or “jet skis”.


• A fire extinguisher
• A sound making device – horn, whistle, etc.
• A throwable Personal Flotation Devices (PFD) if your boat is 16 feet or longer.
• Current registration carried on board.
• CF numbers and registration tags properly displayed.
• A bright orange or red flag is you are water skiing or towing.

It is recommended that you carry a first aid kit, a tool kit, bailing device, an anchor and tow line and a phone or marine radio.

Water skiing Signals

Any person being towed behind a vessel on water skis, an aquaplane or similar device must wear a Type I, II, III or V U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.