You Need a Boating License to Rent a Boat

When you go out on the water at any time, legality and safety should be your top concerns. In the United States, each state has its own laws and regulations concerning boating requirements and safety. So, when you are getting ready to rent a boat, you need to take that into consideration. While states don’t require recreational boat operators to have licenses, they often require a certificate from a boating safety course.

Boat rentals generally fall under two categories, those with captains and those without. You can always rent a captained boat without a boater certificate and/or license, because you aren’t the one will be operating the boat.

You can also rent an un-captained boat without having a boater certificate yourself, but you will probably be required to prove that someone with a certificate will be joining you and driving the boat. This isn’t the case in every state, though, and sometimes it is only a matter of what kind of boat you are taking out. 

A Boater Certificate 

Do you need a Nyc boater license? To get this, you have to take and pass a one-time class and, once you have done that, you will have your boater certificate for life. This is not a license from a technical standpoint because it won’t expire, and you don’t have to renew it. 

The class you take must be state-approved at least and, ideally, also approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). State and NASBLA approval is recognized throughout the United States as the benchmark of legitimacy for a course. These courses often cover the basic operation of boats, boat types, how to navigate, essential knots, relevant legal requirements, handling emergencies, and more.   

The Captain Question 

Whether you already have a boating certificate or not, your first consideration for a boat rental should be whether or not you need a captain. If you spend a lot of time on the water, you probably already have a boating safety certificate, already know the waterways, understand the weather, and hopefully have enough skill to avoid trouble. Still, even experienced boaters can benefit from a rental boat with a captain. 

If you don’t spend large amounts of time on the water or you just recently got your boating certificate, it would be especially beneficial to have an experienced captain on board. Experienced and inexperienced boat renters alike need to consider a few things. First, why are you going out on the water? If you are heading out for a big fishing trip, doing some diving, or something else that would keep you similarly occupied, you should choose a captained rental. 

A rental will always be a boat that you are less familiar with, so it pays to have someone well acquainted with the vessel onboard to control it. Experienced captains can take you to the best diving spots and fishing spots in the area too. Having them on board leaves you to focus on what you need to do while they take care of the boating. 

Keeping Things Legal and Safe 

If you decide that you’d rather have some alone time out on the water or just want to get out with your friends, then you have to do your due diligence and make sure to do it the right way. According to the American Boating Association, out of the average 7,700 boating accidents reported each year, nearly 70% of them are caused by “operator error”. Even more concerning, they found that over 80% of recreational boaters involved in fatal accidents had not taken any type of boater education course. 

The Requirements to Rent and Operate a Boat 

Renting a boat is one thing and operating that watercraft is another. To rent a boat, you have to be 18 or older, have a verified rental account, and have a verified form of payment. If you meet those standards, you can usually rent a boat anywhere in the United States. The rental company will still check whether or not you are the boat operator, though. If you intend to operate the boat or bring someone else along to operate the boat, additional requirements are to be met.

For someone to operate the boat, they must meet the state’s legal requirements and the insurance requirements of the company renting the boats. For Boatsetter boats under the Geico BoatUS Insurance policy: you need to be at least 25 years old, have a verified account, hold a valid passport or driver’s license, not have any criminal convictions on record for the past 10 years, not have any major driving violations for the last 3 years, and not have a boat insurance claim in the past 3 years. 


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