North Carolina Regulatory Guide

Every year, thousands of boating enthusiasts take to the waterways of North Carolina to fish, sail, water ski, and pursue other vessel-based recreation. To make certain that the public is safe, responsible, and free to enjoy boating activities throughout the state, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission enforces laws and regulations that all should observe. 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 North Carolina'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

Cannot rent a personal watercraft to someone under the age of 16. Able to rent to 14+ if...

Cannot rent a PWC to someone under 16 years old - but able to rent a PWC to 14+ if:

(1) The person is accompanied by a person of at least 18 years of age who physically occupies the watercraft and who is in compliance with G.S. 75A-16.2; or

(2) The person (i) possesses on his or her person while operating the watercraft, identification showing proof of age and a boating safety certification card issued by the Commission, proof of other satisfactory completion of a boating safety education course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), or proof of other boating safety education in compliance with G.S. 75A-16.2; and (ii) produces that identification and proof upon the request of an officer of the Commission or local law enforcement agency.

License Requirement

All operators born on or after January 1, 1988 need a license.

All operators born on or after January 1, 1988 need a license except renters listed as authorized operator on rental agreement are exempted.


Personal watercraft rental operators must have $300,000 in liability insurance.

Personal watercraft rental operators must have $300,000 in liability insurance. There are no insurance requirements for vessels rented that are not personal watercraft.


A vessel is subject to inspection when registering the vessel.

Registration Requirement

All motorized vessels used on public waters must be registered, including jet skis and other personal watercraft.

Keep in mind when renting out boats


Rental Agreement

Not required

List of Passengers
Livery Definition
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

If an occurrence results in the death, injury, or disappearance indicating death or injury of a person or damage to a vessel or other property of two thousand dollars ($2,000) or more, or if there is complete loss of any vessel, you must provide:

(1) The date, time, and exact location of the occurrence.

(2) The name of each person who died or disappeared.

(3) The certificate of number and name of the vessel.

(4) The name and address of the vessel owner or owners and the vessel operator.

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, 1717 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C 27699-1717

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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