How to Obtain a Boating License in Mississippi
Obtaining a Mississippi boating license is not a requirement in the state. On the other hand, certain motorists need to obtain a boater education card by enrolling in and completing a safety course. In general, this education card serves as a permit that allows residents to operate a motorboat. However, not everyone is required to obtain this credential. Instead, this card is only necessary for applicants who were born after June 30, 1980.
An MS boat safety certificate is an important credential for residents to wish to operate a boat in the state. Even if you are not required to get the certificate based on the date you were born, it is still highly recommended that you participate in an education program so that you can learn more about legal and safe boating practices. To learn more about the programs you can take and the steps for getting a boating card, read the sections below.
Do you need a license to drive a boat in Mississippi?
As a general rule, you do not need a boating license to operate a boat in Mississippi. Instead, you need to obtain a boater safety card if you were born after June 30, 1980. Anyone who was born on or before that date is not legally required to get this credential in order to drive a boat.
Mississippi Boat License Requirements
One of the most important boating license requirements for being able to operate a boat in Mississippi is the age of the operator. The boating license age required for a resident to operate a boat without supervision is 12 years of age. Motorists who are younger than 12 years of age must always be accompanied by an adult who is 21 years of age or older aboard the boat.
Getting a Boat License in Mississippi
If you are curious about how to get an MS boating license, it is important that you understand the steps involved. In Mississippi, the boating education card is essentially the same thing as a license. In order to obtain the card, you must enroll in a safety course. These are the following steps for obtaining this credential:
- Enroll in a boaters safety course that is approved by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks.
- Successfully pass the course and the exam.
- Pay for the applicable licensing fee.
- Receive your card.
Mississippi Boater Safety Courses
There are two different Mississippi boating course options available for you to choose from. Overall, you can decide whether you wish to take an online boaters safety course or an in-class program. MS has three different online courses that are accepted by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks (MDWFP), as well as an in-classroom option offered directly through the MDWFP.
Regardless of the type of course you opt for, the program will provide you with information designed to help you pass a boater exam. This information includes understanding what equipment is legally required on a boat, how to handle emergency situations and how to properly navigate different types of vessels. The length of time that you will spend completing a boating course is also dependent on the type of program you choose to enroll in. Most of the online options can be taken at your own pace, whereas in-classroom offerings will take approximately six hours of classroom time on average.
Renewing and Replacing a Mississippi Boating License
If you are wondering, “Do boating licenses expire?” the answer is that the education cards provided in Mississippi do not have an expiration date because they are more of a certificate than a license. Therefore, unlike MS driver’s licenses, these boating credentials do not have to be renewed.
On the other hand, in the event that you have lost or damaged your boat education card, you must request a duplicate credential. To replace your card, contact the establishment that issued the card to you and follow the steps that they provide for getting a duplicate.
Mississippi Boat Registration Basics
You must have your boat registration completed and receive a Mississippi Certificate Number and validation decals in order to legally operate your vessel on public waters if you have a sailboat or a motorized boat. It is illegal to operate or allow others to operate your vessel unless is has the proper boat registration stickers.
To register your boat, you must complete a watercraft registration application and present it at a MDWFP office. The application will require you to provide information such as your contact information, the serial or hull ID number, as well as additional information about the boat. Once the application has been completed and you have paid the appropriate fees, you will be provided with your registration documents.
Mississippi Boating Rules and Regulations
When operating a boat in Mississippi, be mindful that you abide by the boating regulations that are set in place. These regulations are designed to help keep all motorists safe while on the water. A few boat requirements that you must be aware of include that you must:
- Have one wearable U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device for each person on board.
- Have properly working navigation lights, a fire extinguisher, sound producing devices and visual distress signal equipment on board.
- Not participate in reckless and negligent operation such as operating at excessive speeds or weaving through traffic.
- Abide by the designated and specific no wake zones.
- Not allow anyone younger than 12 years of age to operate the boat without the supervision of an adult who is 21 years of age or older.
Mississippi Boating License Fees
The cost of getting a boater safety license in Mississippi varies depending on the course that you enroll in. This is because the cost of the card is generally included in the cost of the program. The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Marine Patrol offers free approved boating education courses to the public, or you may pay to take an online course where you may pay approximately $30.