Boat operators born after January 1, 1989 must successfully complete a boater education course approved by the TWRA. After completion of an approved course and passing the final exam in a proctored testing center, a card will be issued as proof of completion. The boating safety education certificate issued by the TWRA is the ONLY card recognized and accepted as meeting the requirements of the law for Tennessee residents. This card must be in the possession of operators born after January 1, 1989 and available to show law enforcement personnel.
Any non-resident boater operating a boat in Tennessee who falls within this age requirement must show proof of successful passage of a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) approved boater education course.
The BoatU.S. Online Boating Safety Course does NOT meet the education requirements for Tennessee. For an approved course, visit http://www.state.tn.us/twra/.
Persons under 12 years of age may not operate a powered vessel or PWC unless an adult is on board that can take immediate control.
An exception is made if the boat is powered by an outboard motor of 8.5 horsepower (hp) or less.
A further exception is made for unaccompanied operators between the ages of 10 and 12 if the boat is over 14 feet long, powered by an outboard motor of less than 15 hp and the person has successfully completed boating education course approved by the TWRA.
When loaning your motorboat or PWC, be certain that they have met the minimum age and education requirements and understand all applicable Tennessee laws.
Under no circumstances, can PWCs be rented to anyone younger than 16 years of age.
We provide this information as a service and strive to keep this website up to date. Please let us know of any inconsistencies by bringing them to our attention at once at firstname.lastname@example.org. Resources for these pages include state statutes, state web pages and state approved boating guides. BoatU.S. is not responsible for any misinterpretation of the law or any change in the law that is not adequately reflected in these pages. Damages as a result of failing to abide by stated law shall not be the responsibility of BoatU.S., BoatU.S. Foundation or its employees.