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How to Apply For a Boating License in Maine

Maine requires a Boater Education Card for boaters, and not a boating license. The regulatory authority for the card is the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

There is no restriction on the age of boat operators. If you are under 12 years of age, you can operate a boat with more than 10 hp only under the direct, onboard supervision of a person who is above 16 years of age. If you are under 16 years of age you are not permitted to operate a boat that includes jet-skis. If you are between 16 and 18 years of age you must have onboard a person above 18 years or someone who has completed an approved boater education course. All operators must carry onboard a proof of age and proof of course taken.

The boating laws of the state require that the person operating a boat should not be under the influence of intoxicants. The legal limit of the blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% and if arrested for a higher BAC, harsh penalties may be imposed on the operator, based on the severity of the offense.

The Land Use Regulation Commission of the Department of Conservation has rules permitting the operation of PWCs on internal waters. You can obtain more information on these by contacting them on (207) 287-2631.


To obtain the Boater Education Card, you must complete a boater education course approved by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, or pass an approved equivalency test.

In an approved course, students learn how to operate and maintain their boats, the legal requirements for boating, and what to do in emergencies. This ensures that boating remains a safe and fun experience.

There are various approved ways you can complete the course and obtain the card:

  1. Classroom options offered by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the U.S Coast Guard Auxiliary or America's Boating Course.
    • The course duration is six hours. The Boating Skills and Seamanship course will take two days to complete, usually spread over two Saturdays.
    • The courses taught are free but there is a fee for the materials.
  2. The Boater Education Card is either handed out at the end of class, or mailed to you.
  3. Only the card issued after a classroom course is recognized in most other states, and by many insurance companies for insurance discounts.
  4. Approved online course offered by and America's Boating Course.
  5. These courses may take up to 8 hours to complete; some options require you to complete the course in one sitting.
  6. Course materials are free. Some providers charge a fee for exams or the card: check providers' websites for details.
  7. A temporary card may be printed after passing the online exam; the permanent card will be mailed to you.
  8. The option of studying at home using approved course material provided by America's Boating Course, and passing a proctored exam. If you cannot find a course in your area you can contact the Regional Safety Coordinator near you.


The card is permanent. There is no need to renew it.


To replace a card, write to Safety Division, 284 State Street, Augusta, ME 04333 or e-mail with proof of course completion, name, date of birth, telephone number and current address. You can also contact the Safety Division in person at 8 Federal Street, Augusta, Maine. Students who took the exam online may obtain a duplicate card by contacting their providers, and for a fee - check the providers' websites for details.


  • While liability insurance is not mandatory for boating in Maine, it is a good idea to have liability insurance to tide over troubles if you or someone operating your boat is involved in a boating accident.
  • Read the Maine Boating Law for the State of Maine.
  • See how to register your boat in Maine.
  • Check the contact information of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

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