Maryland Regulatory Guide

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) oversees boating regulations to ensure safety and responsible use of waterways. DNR enforces boat registrations, safety equipment rules, and speed limits while promoting responsible practices through education. Their efforts aim to strike a balance between recreational boating and preserving Maryland's natural aquatic resources. 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 Maryland's regulations, along with some other important things to keep in mind.

Boxes you need to tick

These are requirements as defined by law:

Age Requirement

Operators of personal watercraft must be at least 16 years old. Operators of other motorized vessels must be at least 12 years old.

License Requirement

Anyone born on or after July 1, 1972 must possess a certificate of boating education in order to operate any motorized vessel.

Safety Checklist

If a renter born on or after July 1, 1972 does not have a certificate of boater education, then the renter must review the relevant boating safety information.

Record Requirement

Livery vessel owners shall keep a record of each vessel rented. The record shall show the:

(a) Maryland number of the vessel and horsepower of motor;

(b) Name and address of the person or persons operating or riding on the vessel at the time of departure;

(c) Name and phone number of an emergency contact person not on board at the time of departure;

(d) Date and time of departure and expected time of return; and

(e) Lifesaving and safety equipment on board, and by whom furnished.

This record shall be preserved for at least 30 days and be made available to enforcement officers upon request.

Registration Requirement

Your vessel, whether commercial or recreational, must be registered in Maryland.

Your vessel, whether commercial or recreational, must be registered in Maryland if it is:

Equipped with any kind of primary or auxiliary mechanical propulsion; and

Used in Maryland most in a calendar year.

Keep in mind when renting out boats


List of Passengers
Livery Definition

Not required

Video Documentation

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

The operator of any boat involved in an accident must stop, render assistance, and offer identification including name, address, and identification of the operator’s vessel.

An accident report must be made to the department within 48 hours if:

1. The accident causes the death or disappearance of a person.

2. As a result of the accident, a person receives medical treatment beyond first aid.

All other boating accidents must be reported to the department within 10 days if damage is greater than $2,000 or there is a loss of vessel.

Running aground or hitting a fixed or floating object is considered a boating accident. The operator of the vessel or vessels involved must report the accident to the Natural Resources Police. Accident reports are required by federal law and furnish information for use in accident prevention.

580 Taylor Ave., Annapolis, MD 21401, MD Callers: 1-877-620-8367, Out of State Callers: 410-260-8367

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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