The Handbook of Texas: Boating Laws and Responsibilities

The Handbook of Texas: Boating Laws and Responsibilities


The Handbook of Texas: Boating Laws and Responsibilities is the official boating handbook developed for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. The handbook introduces you to Texas laws governing boating and provides general information about safe vessel operation on Texas waterways.

The second-largest state in the U.S. has a lot to offer both new and experienced boaters. For coastal boating adventures, Texas provides more than 600 miles of access to the Gulf of Mexico; for inland trips, Texas has over 150 lakes, spread across seven geographical regions, perfect for boating, fishing, and sunshine.

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

Topics include:

  • Vessel Basics
  • Navigation Rules
  • Nighttime Navigation
  • Emergencies
  • Personal Watercraft (PWCs)
  • Texas 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 at least 13 years of age and born on or after September 1, 1993, who operate a motorized vessel of more than 15 horsepower, a PWC, or a windblown vessel over 14 feet in length, must pass a Texas-approved boat education course.