Hawaii Boating Education Law


For more information on the boating laws in the state of Hawaii visit: http://www.dlnr.hawaii.gov/dobor/

Mandatory Education and Age Requirements:

Education Requirements

    THE STATE OF HAWAII: recommends that all operators be familiar with state and federal boating laws and regulations by taking a boating safety course. Check the state's boating website at dlnr.hawaii.gov/dobor/ to find a classroom course taught by volunteers. Or, take an on-line course, such as the BoatU.S. Foundation's boating safety course for general boating safety information and rules of the road.

    COMING SOON: Mandatory education for all operators of motorized vessels. Effective 11/10/2014, any person operating a power driven vessel on the waters of the State will be required to possess a certificate of completion from a NASBLA approved course on the safe use and operation of a power driven vessel that contains a component on Hawaii waters approved by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. This requirement applies to all vessels with motors greater than 10HP. Certain exemptions apply. For details visit http://www.dlnr.hawaii.gov/dobor/.

    COMING SOON: Motorized Vessel Age Restrictions: Effective 11/10/2014, a person under sixteen (16) years of age shall not operate a power driven vessel on the waters of the State unless the person possesses a certificate of completion from a NASBLA/State approved boating safety course and is accompanied on-board and directly supervised by a person twenty-one (21) years of age or older who also holds the required certificate of completion.

    SPECIAL NOTE: Regarding Thrill Craft -Effective January 2005, all recreational thrill craft operators (including PWC operators) shall be required to possess and make available upon demand of enforcement personnel, a certificate of completion from an accredited institution of higher education on the safe use and operation of a thrill craft. The BoatU.S. Online safety course does not meet this requirement.

    THRILL CRAFT AGE RESTRICTIONS:No person under 15 years of age shall operate a thrill craft. No person shall permit, or mislead another person into permitting, a person under 15 years of age to operate a thrill craft.

    DEFINITION OF A THRILL CRAFT:The definition of "thrill craft" is any motorized vessel that falls into the category of a personal watercraft and which:

    • - Is generally less than 13 feet in length as manufactured;
    • - Is generally capable of exceeding a speed of 20 miles-per-hour;
    • - Can be operated by a single operator, but may have the capacity to carry passengers while in operation;
    • - Or is designed to provide similar operating performance as a personal watercraft through a combination of size, power plant, and hull design.

    The term "thrill craft" generally includes, but is not limited to, a jet ski, wave-runner, wet bike, surf jet, miniature speed boat, hovercraft, and every description of vessel which uses an internal combustion engine powering a water jet pump as its primary source of motive propulsion, and is designed to be operated by a person or persons sitting, standing, or kneeling on, or being towed behind the vessel.

    AT THIS TIME: Hawaii does not have any other operator restrictions for recreational watercraft (but this will change 11/10/14). However, a good rule of thumb is to always go boating with a buddy. And, if you are under the age of 16, a competent adult should be present that can take immediate control in the event of an emergency.


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