Kentucky Regulatory Guide

Kentucky 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 Kentucky’s regulations, along with some other important things to keep in mind.

Boxes you need to tick

These are requirements as defined by law:

Boating Safety Equipment Checklist

Renters must follow Boating Safety Equipment Checklist

  • Numbers Properly Displayed
  • Registration Receipt On Board
  • Wearable Life Jacket for Each Person On Board (find a Life-Jacket Loaner Station here)
  • Throwable Flotation Device
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Horn or Whistle
  • Lights (red, green, 360 degree white light)
Rental Agreement

The operator shall have with him a copy of the lease or rental agreement

The operator shall have with him a copy of the lease or rental agreement signed by the marina owner or an authorized representative of the marina and by the person leasing or renting the vessel that contains the vessel's number which appears on the certificate of number and the period of time for which the vessel is leased or rented.

Record Requirement

The owner of a boat marina shall keep a record of the name and address of the person or persons hiring any vessel

The owner of a boat marina shall keep a record of the name and address of the person or persons hiring any vessel which is designed or permitted by him to be operated as a motorboat; the identification number thereof; and the departure time and date, and the expected time of return. The record shall be preserved for at least six (6) months.

Registration Requirement

All mechanically powered vessels used primarily in this state must have a Kentucky registration.

Boats are registered at the county clerk’s office. Persons may register in the county of their residence or the county of principal use. Boat registrations expire on April 30 each year.

Keep in mind when renting out boats


Age Requirement

Not required

Livery Definition
Recommended Video

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

As the operator of a vessel, you are required by law to file a formal, written report of your boating accident with the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife under certain circumstances.

A formal, written report must be filed with the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife when there is:

• Damage over $500 by or to the vessel or its equipment;
• Injury (requiring medical help beyond first aid) or loss of life; and/or

• Disappearance of any person on board a vessel.

Failure to report boating accidents as specified above shall be in violation of KRS 235.250. When a person dies or disappears as a result of an occurrence that involves a vessel or its equipment, the operator is required by law to notify the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources or the most immediately available Department Conservation Officer without delay and by the quickest means possible.

Time Frame for Reporting: reports must be filed within the following time frames from the boating accident:
• 48 hours if there is loss of life within 24 hours of the accident;
• 48 hours if a person involved is injured and cannot perform usual activities;

• 48 hours if a person disappears;
• 10 days if an earlier report is not required but becomes necessary; and/or
• 10 days if the boat or property damage is in excess of $500 or total boat loss.

You may submit the completed forms in person or send them to:

Law Enforcement Division — Boating Accident
The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources

#1 Sportsman Lane
Frankfort, Ky. 40601

The boat operator or owner usually completes the form unless she/he is physically unable to do so. Call the Law Enforcement Division at the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources if you have difficulty completing an accident report form (Central Office in Frankfort, 800-858-1549).

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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