Massachusetts Regulatory Guide

The Massachusetts Environmental Police (MEP) is responsible for regulating boating activities across the state. They enforce boating laws, monitor compliance with safety regulations, and conduct patrols on various waterways. MEP also focuses on educating boaters about responsible practices to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on Massachusetts' lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. 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 Massachusetts’ 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

No person under 12 years of age may operate a motorboat.

No person under 12 years of age may operate a motorboat, unless accompanied on-board and directly supervised by a competent person 18 years of age or older. Personal watercraft (PWC) users must still be at least 16 years of age in order to operate, with no exceptions.

License Requirement

Youth who are between 12 and 15 years of age must take an approved boating course.

Youth who are between 12 and 15 years of age must take an approved boating course to operate a motorboat without adult supervision.

Registration Requirement

The owner of any motorboat principally used in Massachusetts shall file an application for number.

The owner of any motorboat principally used in the commonwealth shall file an application for number with the director on a form approved by him.

The certificate of number of a livery boat shall be plainly marked ''livery boat.''

Keep in mind when renting out boats


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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

The operator of a vessel is required to submit a written report to the Massachusetts Environmental Police, Boating and Recreational Vehicle Safety Bureau whenever an accident results in:

  • The death of a person.
  • Disappearance of a person under circumstances which suggest any possibility of death or injury.
  • Any injury requiring medical attention.
  • Property damage exceeding $500.

Accidents resulting in death or serious injury must be reported within 48 hours. Other accident reports must be submitted within five days. If a boat is lost, stolen, abandoned, or destroyed, the owner must notify the Massachusetts Environmental Police in writing within 15 days.

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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