The Boater’s Guide to Maine: Boating Laws and Responsibilities

The Boater’s Guide to Maine: Boating Laws and Responsibilities


The Boater’s Guide to Maine: Boating Laws and Responsibilities is the official boating handbook developed for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The handbook introduces you to Maine laws governing boating and provides general information about safe vessel operation on Maine waterways.

Maine has 2,500 lakes and ponds, over 5,o00 miles of coastline, and 2,000 coastal islands that make it the perfect destination for boating, whitewater rafting, sailing, and paddlesports. Whether you’re fishing on Moosehead Lake or saltwater canoeing at Old Orchard Beach, Maine offers many boating opportunities.

Use this handbook to familiarize yourself with steps to make all your boating outings safe and enjoyable. Remember, safety on Maine waterways is the responsibility of all boaters. 

Topics include:

  • Vessel Basics
  • Navigation Rules
  • Nighttime Navigation
  • Emergencies
  • Personal Watercraft (PWCs)
  • Maine Boating Laws and Regulations
  • Required Equipment
  • Skiing
  • And much more…

Boater Education

You may have heard that you need a boating license to operate your boat, but what you really need is a boaters safety course. Whether or not your state requires education, it can reduce boating accidents and injuries on the water. Boaters can keep themselves and their passengers safe by learning about responsible boat operation, etiquette, and the rules of the waterways.

Persons 16 and 17 years of age may operate a personal watercraft only if they have proof of successfully completing a Maine-approved boat education course