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How Old do you have to be to drive a boat?

Old 06-20-2003, 07:24 PM
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Parkesburg, Pa.
My Boats: Silverton 34C. Also '97 Seadoo GTI and various other small craft.
Posts: 94

My daughter's now 14 and we've allowed her to run it in open water since she was 9 or 10. She definitely likes the throttle! She's impressed me as to how much she watches for wakes, other boats, and her depth. The last couple of years, I've felt comfortable enough to sit on the rear bench while she drives (of course, I still watch closely). Um- I do the docking.....
The whole family took the Maryland Safe Boater course this past winter, and the kid got 100% (due to Dad's superb coaching, no doubt ).

I looked up the Maryland age requirement, and it states (taken directly from the Safe Boater course book) :

"All persons born after 7/1/1972 must have in their possesion a certificate of boating safety education to legally operate a numbered or documented vessel (this includes Personal watercraft) on Maryland's public waters."
"Those born after 7/1/1972 are exempted from the above requirements if they are:
-Licensed by the US Coast Guard to operate a commercial vessel or
-Visiting Maryland for 90 days or less in a vessel from a foreign country or
-A resident of another state and boating on Maryland waters for 60 days or less in a vessel properly registered in their home state and
-Are at least 16 years of age or
-Have proof that they have passed a boater education course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators."

[In addition]
- "No one under 16 years of age may legally operate a personal watercraft, even if the person posseses a certificate of boating safety education.
-No one under 12 years of age may legally operate a vessel towing a person(s) on water skis, an aquaplane, a parasail or similar device."

Are we confused now?

Basically, it means a Boater Safety course is in your kid's future!
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Old 06-21-2003, 06:44 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Apache Jct. AZ
My Boats: 24' Pantera
Posts: 5,646

I was 10 - and my Dad was just consumating the deal to buy his boat - a 24' Reinell - the owner asked if I wanted to drive. I asked if I was allowed? I thought I needed a license, or at least be 16. it was no problem (at least back then).
By the time I was 11 ( next season) Dad would let me take the boat out from the dock - out to the harbor light , and back - (including Docking!!). I learned early how to handle a boat around the docks, How to watch the wind and the current.
Some of my best memories are when it was just Dad and me in the boat ( Mom got too nervous with me at the helm..) ( kinda a speed thing....)
Because of that teaching, I have no problem around the docks, I can put a boat in a slip easier than I can parallel park a car.
Thanks Dad!
There were plenty of times we went out and he never touched the wheel or the sticks, - great memories, and a great learning experience.
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Old 06-21-2003, 09:19 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Florida
My Boats: Cigarette CC and Boston Whaler currently
Posts: 10,094
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Originally posted by R Addiction
I'm breakin her in for a long run down to Kent Narrows!! For now the water has to be flat and not busy!!!

That's great. A big thumbs up for you!!In this day and age, (with mtv,cable TV, video games, and the internet) anything that we can find that children and us can enjoy together is a good thing. If my Dad was still alive I couldn't thank him enough for teaching me about Boating and Golf. Those are things that you can do for your entire life

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