You want to go sailing but the question is, do you need a license to drive a pontoon boat?
It is definitely fun to go on a boating adventure whether alone or with your family and friends. This is a great way to grasp a brand new experience or change things up in your day to day activity.
But you also need to know that boating comes with certain responsibilities. Your priority should be staying safe when on the water, as well as complying with any legal requirements involved.
When it comes to driving a pontoon boat, there are varied rules and guidelines depending on the state you live in.
So, let’s learn more about the necessary things to keep in mind when driving a pontoon boat and whether you need a license for it or not. Let’s get started.
Do You Need A License To Drive A Pontoon Boat?
First things first – boating regulations include not just the operator but also the crew onboard.
There are different guidelines for each state. These include the minimum operator age, towing restrictions, mandatory life jackets from passengers, and granting the right of way, as well as passing on a specific side depending on the situation.
Moreover, such guidelines also cover boating licenses and necessary insurance.
With this in mind, it is smart to be fully aware of any state requirements involved before you hit the lakes. Make it a point to adhere to these regulations fully, so you can spare yourself from massive headaches along the way.
If automobile drivers are arrested or ticketed for non-compliance of standard rules and regulations on the road, the same thing applies to boat operators for any reckless and irresponsible behavior.
Fines and even imprisonment are penalties involved when failing to comply with guidelines set by the state. To make things worse, your poor behavior may even be the cause of someone’s death or injury, which can definitely put a damper on your boating adventure.
Common Requirements When Driving A Pontoon Boat
These requirements may either be legally mandated by the state to ensure boat safety while others are simply optional, which adds to the enjoyment of your boating experience.
Thus, it is best to learn more about these requirements to maintain safety and enjoyment while on the water.
First, you do need your registration number for the boat and your license. These are both required to allow authorities to easily track your boat.
Then, you also need some safety gears for you and your passengers. This includes your first aid kit, life vest, life ring, personal locator, fire extinguisher, and a flare gun.
The items above are absolutely required and essential. So, you need to have them all in check before you begin boating.
Recommended and Optional Things for Your Pontoon Boat
In addition to the essential requirements, you need to have these recommended tools and items to enhance your boating trip.
An alternative motor or trolling motor are ideal for those who are looking to catch some fish while on their boat. They are capable of giving the boat a smoother operation when fishing is in the agenda.
It would also be good to have some basic supplies such as food and water to last you throughout the trip. And then, be sure there are docking lights on board. This way, you can dock your boat easily when you are arriving at night.
Depending on the size of your boat and your preferences, you can also throw in some optional extras. These include your sound system to play some music while boating, a shade cloth to offer sun protection (only for boats without a built-in shade system), and perhaps some accessories such as pontoon tubes, drink coolers, and floating docks, to name a few.
Pontoon Boat License – Is It A Requirement?
Boating includes various regulations and rules. These all depend on which state you are currently in or where you are looking to drive your pontoon boat.
Generally, a license is not a requirement when driving a pontoon boat. However, it is often required by state laws that drivers have completed and passed a boating safety course approved by the state.
There are also legal aspects involved when driving pontoon boats such as general legislations for operating a water vehicle, the minimum operator age requirement, educational background, and boat insurance and license.
These are all important to ensure safety in the water both for the operator and the passengers.