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RI Mandatory Boating Education Requirements

On January 1, 2002, a law took effect making it mandatory for boaters to be certified in order to operate vessels on the waters of this State.

Who needs to be certified?
  1. Anyone born after January 1, 1986, who operates a vessel with a motor that exceeds 10-horse power.
  2. Anyone who operates a personal watercraft (jet ski) regardless of age.
Where to go to get certified?
  1. State approved classroom boating safety courses are available through CCRI Lincoln and Warwick. Contact CCRI for a list of upcoming courses at (401) 333-7070.
  2. Classes sponsored by US Power Squadron and Coast Guard Auxiliary are held throughout the year at various locations around the State. Click on the below links find a class near you.
Any boating safety class you take must be a minimum of 8 hours and NASBLA certified. Check with the instructor to verify that your class is State certified and meets the above requirements.
  1. A home study course is available through the Division of Law Enforcement at DEM Website
  2. A State approved online course is available by clicking on the link below.


Life Jacket Requirement for Water-skiers:
46-22-12 Water skis and surfboards. (a) No person shall operate a vessel on any waters of this state for towing a person or persons on water skis, or a surfboard, or similar device unless there is in the vessel a person at least twelve (12) years of age, in addition to the operator, in a position to observe the progress of the person or persons being towed. Any person or persons on water skis, a surfboard, a tube or similar device that is being towed behind a vessel on any waters of this state shall be required to wear a life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Child Life Jacket Requirement:
46-22-9.2 Flotation devices Children. Any person transporting a child under thirteen (13) years of age in a recreational vessel less than sixty-five (65) feet in length on the waters of this state shall require that the child wear a personal flotation device approved by the United States Coast Guard when underway, unless below deck or in a closed cabin.

Helpful Links

List of Rhode Island Pumpout Stations

Rhode Island Public Boat Launching Sites

2012 Handbook of Rhode Island Boating Laws and Responsibilities

RI DEM Kids Coloring Book


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Last modified: 1/7/2024
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