New Mexico Regulatory Guide

The New Mexico State Parks Division takes a leading role in shaping and enforcing boating laws across the state. Responsible for managing recreational resources, the division formulates regulations covering vessel registration, operator licensing, safety equipment, and navigation rules. 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 New Mexico'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

No person under the age of 13 shall operate a motorboat unless under an adult's supervision.

License Requirement

Renters born on or after January 1, 1989 must have a valid boating card.

Renters born on or after January 1, 1989 must have a valid boating card unless they are renting and receive instructions regarding the safe operation of the motorboat and a summary of the statutes and rules governing the operation of a motorboat from a person in the business of renting or leasing motorboats. The instructions shall be valid only for the period of the rental agreement not to exceed thirty days.

Safety Checklist

Renters without a valid boating card must review, initial, and sign this safety checklist.

Record Requirement

The owner of a boat livery shall cause to keep a record.

The record shall contain 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 date and time, and the expected time of return. The record shall be preserved for at least six months.

Registration Requirement

To operate your vessel in New Mexico, you must have a registration card and decal if:

To operate your vessel in New Mexico, you must have a registration card and validation decal if:

     - Your vessel is propelled by machinery.

     - Your vessel is propelled, or designed to be propelled, by sail, unless it is a sailboard or windsurf board.

    - The registration card (certificate of number) must be carried on board whenever your vessel is used.

Keep in mind when renting out boats


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List of Passengers
Video Documentation
Livery Definition
Rental Agreement

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

In case of collision, accident or other casualty involving a vessel, and resulting in death or injury to a person or damage to property in excess of one hundred dollars ($100), the operator of the vessel or his legal representative shall, within forty-eight hours, file with the division a full description of the collision, accident or other casualty, including all information that the division may require by regulation. 

Forms are also available from offices of state parks with lakes. Additionally, forms may be requested from, and completed forms may be mailed to: 

New Mexico State Parks

Boating Safety Program

1220 South Saint Francis Drive

Santa Fe, NM 87505


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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