The Handbook of Missouri: Boating Laws and Responsibilities

The Handbook of Missouri: Boating Laws and Responsibilities


The Handbook of Missouri: Boating Laws and Responsibilities is the official boating handbook developed for the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Water Patrol Division. The handbook introduces you to Missouri laws governing boating and provides general information about safe vessel operation on Missouri waterways.

Full of running rivers ready for fun and relaxation, Missouri has much to offer boaters. Canoe down the Niangua River in the Ozarks, go boating along the Missouri River until it joins the Mississippi River, or travel to Mark Twain’s birthplace and visit the 18,000-acre Mark Twain Lake.

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

Topics include:

  • Vessel Basics
  • Navigation Rules
  • Nighttime Navigation
  • Emergencies
  • Personal Watercraft (PWCs)
  • Missouri 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.

All persons born after January 1, 1984, must have passed a Missouri-approved boat education course to operate any vessel on the lakes of Missouri.