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Searching 2023-2024 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

The Vermont Statutes Online does not include the actions of the 2024 session of the General Assembly. We expect them to be updated by November 1st.

NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.

Title 23 : Motor Vehicles

Chapter 029 : Snowmobiles, Vessels, and Water Sports

Subchapter 002 : Vessels

(Cite as: 23 V.S.A. § 3305b)
  • § 3305b. Boating safety education; rules

    (a) When required. An individual born after January 1, 1974 shall not operate a motorboat on the public waters of this State without first obtaining a certificate of boating education.

    (b) Possession of certificate. An individual who is required to have a certificate of boating education shall:

    (1) Possess the certificate when operating a motorboat on the public waters of the State.

    (2) Show the certificate on the demand of an enforcement officer wearing insignia identifying him or her as such or operating a law enforcement vessel. However, an individual charged with violating this subsection shall not be convicted if the individual produces a certificate that was valid at the time the violation occurred in court to the officer or to a State’s Attorney.

    (c) Exemptions. The following individuals are exempt from the requirements of this section:

    (1) an individual who is licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard to operate a vessel for commercial purposes;

    (2) an individual operating a motorboat on a body of water located on private property; and

    (3) any other individual exempted by rules of the Department of Public Safety.

    (d) Rules. The Department of Public Safety shall:

    (1) adopt rules that establish criteria for a course of instruction in boating safety education;

    (2) adopt rules relating to transient boaters and persons who hire chartered vessels;

    (3) administer a verbal test when appropriate;

    (4) coordinate a Statewide program of boating safety instruction and certification and ensure that a course of boating safety education is available within each county;

    (5) ensure that a course of boating safety education is available at the earliest practicable age for children; and

    (6) ensure that the course includes an educational component regarding the environmental harm caused by aquatic nuisance species and how the spread of such species may be controlled when boaters follow specific steps to clean boats and trailers after use in State waters.

    (e) Hours of instruction. Any course of boating safety education that is offered shall provide a minimum of eight hours of instruction.

    (f) Persons offering courses. The following persons may offer the course of instruction in boating safety education if approved by the Department of Public Safety:

    (1) the Department of Public Safety;

    (2) the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary;

    (3) the U.S. Power Squadrons;

    (4) a political subdivision;

    (5) a municipal corporation;

    (6) a State agency;

    (7) a public or nonpublic school; and

    (8) any group, firm, association, or person.

    (g) Issuance of certificate. The Department of Public Safety or its designee shall issue a certificate of boating safety education to an individual who:

    (1) passes the departmentally prescribed course in boating safety education; or

    (2) passes a boating safety equivalency examination administered by persons authorized to offer the course on boating safety education.

    (h) Education materials. Upon request, the Department of Public Safety shall provide, without charge, boating safety education materials to individuals who plan to take the boating safety equivalency examination.

    (i) Lifetime issuance. Once issued, the certificate of boating safety education is valid for the lifetime of the individual to whom it was issued and may not be revoked by the Department of Public Safety or a court of law.

    (j) Certificate replacement. The Department of Public Safety shall replace, without charge, a lost or destroyed certificate if the Department issued the certificate or has a record that the certificate was issued.

    (k) Out-of-state certificate. A boating safety certificate issued in another state or country in accordance with or substantially equivalent to criteria of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators is sufficient to comply with the requirements of this section. (Added 1989, No. 65, § 4; amended 2009, No. 46, § 6, eff. July 1, 2010; 2021, No. 76, § 13.)