Hawaii Regulatory Guide

Hawaii has regulations related to the operation of vessel, including boats used for leasing. These regulations cover various aspects of vessel operation, such as equipment requirements, safety procedures, and licensing requirements for operators. On this page, we navigate you through everything you need to have in place in order to ensure that your boat rental business is compliant with Hawaii’s regulations, along with some other important things to keep in mind.

Boxes you need to tick

These are requirements as defined by law:

Registration Requirement

Certificate of Number must be carried onboard. Registration numbers and validation decals must be properly displayed on hull of boat.

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Age Requirement

All individuals who operate a motorized vessel in Hawaii’s State waters must have taken a state-approved boating safety course and show proof of certification upon demand by law enforcement.

Rental Agreement

Rental Agreement must contain the renter's name and age

A person or the person's responsible managing employee or agent engaged in the business of renting or leasing power driven vessels shall not rent or lease a power driven vessel to any person for operation on the waters of the State unless the person:

(1) Meets all the requirements of this section by receiving a safety briefing provided by the rental or leasing business that is approved by the department; and

(2) Is identified on the rental or lease agreement for a power driven vessel by name and age.

A person or the person's agent or employee renting or leasing power driven vessels who fails to request and inspect certificates or evidence of exemption is in violation of this section.

Livery Record Requirement

The owner of a boat livery shall cause to be kept a record of the name and address of the person or persons hiring any vessel, the identification number thereof, and the departure date and time and the expected time of return. The record shall be preserved for at least six months.

All boat liveries shall record with the department the name and address of their livery, the name and address of the owner and the number and lengths of boats in use. The boat livery shall notify the department upon termination of service. The department shall maintain a record of all boat liveries. No recording fee shall be charged.

Keep in mind when renting out boats


Safety Equipment
Livery Definition
Age Requirement

Not required

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The information provided is intended to be general and informative, and should not be interpreted as regulatory, legal, or insurance advice. It does not constitute professional advice from a licensed insurance agent and does not establish an attorney-client or insurer-insured relationship. This information should not replace the counsel of a qualified legal, regulatory, or insurance professional. Always consult with a qualified professional for legal, regulatory, or insurance advice pertaining to your specific circumstances.

Boat Rental Accident Reporting

Operators of recreational boats must file an accident report in cases of marine casualties involving their vessels. This requirement also extends to the boat's owner if the operator is incapacitated. The circumstances necessitating a report include loss of life, disappearance of a person, injuries requiring more than first aid treatment, or property damage exceeding $2000. Reports for incidents involving loss of life or disappearance must be submitted within 48 hours, while all other accidents have a 7-day reporting window.

Accident reports for recreational vessels in Hawaii should be submitted to the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation's address:

Hawaiʻi District

Honokohau Small Boat Harbor

74-380 Kealakehe Parkway

Kailua-Kona, Hawaiʻi 96740

In cases where the Coast Guard and the Government of Hawaii have joint jurisdiction, the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement investigates all recreational boating accidents.

Report Accident

Federal Regulation

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) regularly provides updates on recentchanges in regulation and have overviews of specific requirements for boatrental companies

Buoy is your one-stop shop for compliance & insurance

Buoy provides boat rental companies with peace of mind while saving time and money. When using Buoy’s insurance solution, we will help you get fully compliant free of charge.

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