Boating Laws
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Boat Laws

KENTUCKY Boating Laws and Safety Guides

Kentucky BOAT LAWS


Kentucky Boating Laws are administered by the The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.  Additional rules and regulations may apply in various counties. Know the law.

Basic Kentucky Boating Laws

The failure to exercise the degree of care necessary to prevent endangering persons, property or wildlife may be considered careless or negligent operation. Therefore, no person shall operate any vessel or manipulate water skis, wakeboard, tube or similar device in manner that can bring harm to themselves, their passengers, or other boaters or the environment.

Boating License Requirements

Only classroom based, proctored boating safety courses approved by the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources will be accepted for Kentucky's education requirements.

 - Boaters less than 12 years of age may not legally operate any motorized vessel or personal watercraft over 10 horsepower (hp) 
 - Boaters aged 12 to 17 may operate motorized vessels, including personal watercraft, provided they have completed a safety course approved by the The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and carry with them their certificate of successful completion or they are accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older or another boater who possesses a boater education card.

 - There are no vessel education requirements for boaters 18 years of age or older.

Jet Ski Rules

PWCs are Class A boats and must comply with all boating laws, registration procedures, operation and equipment requirements in addition to the regulations specific to PWCs. 

 - PWCs may only be operated during daylight hours (between sunrise and sunset).

- PWCs must not be operated so that it jumps the wake of another vessel or crosses the path of another vessel such that visibility is restricted.

Boat Registration - Kentucky Department of Natural Resources 

 To operate a vessel on the waters of Kentucky it must be properly registered and display current registration decals. You must submit a proper application, title and registration fee to the office of the county clerk in the county in which you reside or the county where you use your vessel. The following types of water craft are exempt: 
-Non-motorized vessels like canoes, kayaks and rafts.
-Vessels properly registered in another state and not remaining in Kentucky waters for more than 60 consecutive days. 
-Vessels properly documented with the United States Coast Guard.

It is illegal for the owner or person in control of a motorboat to allow someone who does not meet the age or boating education requirements to operate the vessel. Boaters Education and Boat Safety