Reference Guide to State Boating Laws

The Reference Guide to State Boating Laws answers a number of questions related to recreational boating safety public law. Topics covered include boating education, operator age, water skiing, boat noise, numbering & titling, personal watercraft, boating under the influence, personal flotation devices and more.

The data in the guide was supplied by the states and collectively updated during 2007. Data can also be updated by boating law administrators (or designates) for the individual states.

The information is subject to change at any time and facts should be verified with the BLAs if there are any questions.

To access the data, click on the drop down menu below and select a topic area.

Oklahoma

Question

Data

Commercial Vessels

Does your state/territory regulate commercial vessels on sole state waters?

No

Other, please specify

If you answered yes to the previous question, is your agency responsible for enforcing regulations on commercial vessels on sole state waters?

Other, please specify

If you answered "No" to the previous question, which state agency is responsible?

White Water

Does your state regulate vessel operation in white water areas?

Other, please specify

Other, please specify

NA

Does your state regulate commercial white water operations?

Other, please specify

Other, please specify

NA

Search & Rescue

Does your agency have a dive team?

Yes

Other, please specify

What agency is responsible for Search and Rescue operations?

Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Lake Patrol Section

What agency is responsible for victim recovery?

Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Lake Patrol Section

Boating Education Requirements

Does your state require mandatory boating safety education for some segment of the population?

Yes

Who is required to complete a boating education course in your state?

All persons from 12 to less than 16 years of age.

Are only residents of your state required to complete a boating education course?

No

Other, please specify

Education Exemptions

Are non-residents exempt from having to take a boating education course in your state?

Other, please specify

Other, please specify

Yes- if completed any NASBLA approved course

Are U.S. Coast Guard licensed operators exempt from having to take a boating education course in your state?

Other, please specify

Other, please specify

Yes, due to age restriction of ed requirement

Are any other persons exempt from having to take a boating education course in your state? Please list.

1. Persons who have proof they have successfully completed a NASBLA approved course in another state. 2. Persons participating in a sanctioned event. 3. Persons operating in a No-Wake zone at a no wake speed while under supervision of an adult.

Exams and License/Certificate Issuance

Is issuance of a license/certificate dependant upon passing an exam in your state?

Yes

Other, please specify

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, what is the passing score in your state?

70% or greater

Providers of Education Courses

State Agency

X

US Coast Guard Auxiliary

X

US Power Squadrons

X

Public School System

Private Company

X

Other, please specify

online course providers

Minors, Powerboats Personal Watercraft

Does your state require an adult to be on board when a minor is operating a motor-powered vessel other than a PWC?

Other, please specify

Other, please specify

Yes- until operator reaches 16 years of age

Does your state require an adult to be on board when a minor is operating a PWC?

Other, please specify

Other, please specify

No requires visual supervis'n within 500yds <16YOA

Minimum Ages for Education Certification

Does your state certify minor boaters?

Yes

Other, please specify

What is the minimum age someone can be certified in your state?

12

Does your state have reciprocity for accepting out of state certification of minor boaters if the certification course meets NASBLA's Education Standards?

Yes - OK accepts all NASBLA approved courses.

Mandatory Boat Operator Licensing

Does your state require mandatory boat operator licensing?

No

Other, please specify

Minimum Ages for Non-PWC Vessels

Does your state set a minimum age requirement to operate a motor powered vessel other than a PWC?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, please list the required age and any other details such as horsepower rating.

No person less than 12 YOA may operate any vessel powered by a motor or combination of motors in excess of 10 HP or sail-powered vessel 16 feet or greater in length. A person from 12 to less than 16 YOA may operate such vessels only after successfully completing a NASBLA approved boating education course and if operating a motorboat or sail-powered vessel, must have a competent adult, 18 years of age or older, on board in a position to take control of the vessel if necessary.

Does your state set any minimum age requirements to operate a PWC?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, please list the requirements.

No person less than 12 YOA may operate any PWC. A person from 12 to less than 16 YOA may operate a PWC only after successfully completing a NASBLA approved boating education course and must be visually supervised within 500 yards by a competent adult 18 years of age or older.

Minimum Ages for Non-Powered Vessels

Are there any minimum age requirements in your state to operate non-powered vessels such as sailboats, canoes or kayaks?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, please list the requirements.

No person less than 12 YOA may operate any sail-powered vessel 16 feet or greater in length. A person from 12 to less than 16 YOA may operate such vessels only after successfully completing a NASBLA approved boating education course and must have a competent adult, 18 years of age or older, on board in a position to take control of the vessel if necessary.

Education Reciprocity

Do you accept out-of-state boating education certificates in your state?

Yes

Other, please specify

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, which type of certificates do you accept?

All NASBLA-approved courses

Does your state honor NASBLA-approved course reciprocity for non-residents?

Yes

Other, please specify

Wallet-Sized Certificates

Does your state issue wallet size boating certificate cards?

Yes

Other, please specify

How long are education certificates/student wallet cards valid in your state?

Lifetime of student - never expire

Challenge Exams

Does your state allow students to take a challenge exam to meet your state boating education requirement?

Yes

Other, please specify

Online Courses & Proctoring

Does your state have any laws in place which expressly prohibit online boating safety courses?

No

Other, please specify

Does your state require boating safety tests to be proctored?

No

Other, please specify

Water Skiing

Does your state require an observer to be present when pulling a skier?

Other, please specify

Other, please specify

Unless vessel is equipped w/ proper convex mirror

Does your state require a mirror to be present when pulling a skier?

Other, please specify

Other, please specify

Unless vessel has proper observer 8 YOA or older

Does your state prohibit water skiing during any specific time of the day/night?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, please describe the time(s) when skiing is prohibited.

Sunset to Sunrise and during periods of restricted visibility.

Water Skiing

Does your state require a skier to wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD?

Yes

Are self-propelled skis allowed to be used in your state?

Yes

Does your state require the use of a skier down flag?

No

Describe any other water skiing restrictions in your state.

Vessels used to tow another person must be designed to accomodate two or more persons. PWC's without a proper observer must be equipped with 2 efficient wide angle convex rear view mirrors. No person may operate or manipulate any vessel, tow rope or other device to cause a person to collide or strike any object or other person.

Motorboat Noise

Is there a maximum noise level for motorboats in your state?

No

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, please give the levels and standard used.

Is there a factory muffling alteration law in your state?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, what is the law?

No person shall operate upon the waters of this state any vessel or motor which is not equipped with a muffler or muffler system in good working order. The use of cutouts, removal of mufflers or muffler baffles, cutting or punching holes in mufflers or otherwise modifying the original muffler or muffling system so as to increase or modify the noise level is prohibited.

Is boat noise governed by local ordinance in your state?

No

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, what is the local ordinance?

Marine Sanitation Devices

Does your state prohibit Y-valve through-hull discharge in waters of state jurisdiction?

Yes

Other, please specify

Does your state require Y-valves to be locked/closed in waters of state jurisdiction?

Yes

Other, please specify

Marine Sanitation Devices

What are the penalties for misuse or failure to equip a vessel with a Marine Sanitation Device in your state?

Fine not less than $200 or greater than $1000 plus court cost.

What are the penalties for illegal dumping/discharge of a Marine Sanitation Device in your state?

Fine not less than $200 or greater than $1000 plus court cost.

Personal Watercraft Operation

Does your state require users to wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD when operating a PWC?

Yes

Does your state require PWC rental operators to provide any instruction or education in PWC operation prior to use?

No

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, how much instruction is required?

Does your state prohibit PWC operation at any specific times?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, please list the times.

From sunset to sunrise unless equipped with proper lights.

Personal Watercrafts and Skiers

Does your state allow PWCs to pull water skiers?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, are there any restrictions?

Must be designed to accomodate two or more persons and must have proper observer 8 YOA or older or two convex rear view mirrors so placed so the operator can face the direction traveled and observe the progress of the person being towed.

Personal Watercraft Restrictions

Is there a speed limit specific to PWCs other than slow/no wake zones in your state?

No

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, please list the speed limit.

Is PWC operation restricted within any area or zone in your state?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, please list the restricted area or zone.

Some municipal lakes have specified PWC use areas.

Are limitations imposed on wake jumping with PWCs in your state?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, please describe the limitations.

No person shall operate any vessel in a reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger life or property of any person. No person shall operate any vessel at speeds over ten MPH while within 50 feet in proximity to another vessel.

Is there a kill switch or safety lanyard requirement for PWCs in your state?

Yes

Life Jackets

Which persons in your state are required to wear a PFD and under what circumstances?

Any person 12 YOA or younger who is a passenger on a vessel less than 26 feet in length shall wear a proper PFD. Any person operating or manipulating, or who is a passenger on a PWC, water skis, sailboard, parasail or similar devices shall wear a proper PFD.

What are the penalties for violating PFD regulations in your state?

$201

Blood Alcohol Content

What is the BAC level at which a person is considered intoxicated in your state?

0.1

Does your state have a lower threshold for BAC for minor boaters?

No

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, what is the BAC level for minors?

Boating Under the Influence

Does a BUI conviction impact an offender's automobile driving privileges in any way in your state?

No

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, how are their privileges impacted?

BUI Saturation Patrols & Checkpoints

Are BUI saturation patrols utilized in your state?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, how are they used?

Special empahasis patrols usually on holiday and other "high traffic" boating events.

Are BUI checkpoints utilized in your state?

No

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, how are they used?

Alcohol Testing for BUI

Does your state allow blood tests to determine BAC or BUI?

Yes

Does your state allow breath tests to determine BAC or BUI?

Yes

Does your state allow urine tests to determine BAC or BUI?

No

Test Usage in Criminal Evidence

Blood

X

Breath

X

Urine

Field Sobriety Tests

Does your state require field sobriety tests to be conducted on shore?

No

Other, please specify

Can refusal of a test be used against a boater in criminal prosecution in your state?

Yes

Other, please specify

Do marine officers utilize random BUI inspections that include boarding the boat in your state?

Yes

Negligent Operation of a Vessel

Does your state allow officers to issue citations for negligent operation of a vessel?

Yes

Portable BUI Equipment

Does your state allow the use of hand held or portable BUI enforcement equipment?

No

Does your state allow the use of hand held or portable BUI enforcement equipment to be used for probable cause?

No

Does your state allow the use of hand held or portable BUI enforcement equipment to be used for evidentiary purposes?

No

What percentage of law enforcement officers have access to hand held or portable BUI enforcement equipment in your state?

0

Probable Cause

Does state law require probable cause for marine officers to stop a vessel?

No

Other, please specify

Does state law require probable cause for marine officers to board a vessel?

No

Other, please specify

Towing Distressed Vessels

Do marine officers utilize random safety inspections that include boarding the boat in your state?

Yes

Other, please specify

Are marine officers allowed to tow vessels in distress in your state?

Yes

Other, please specify

Are seaplanes "on the water" treated as vessels in your state?

No

Other, please specify

Liability Insurance

Does your state mandate liability insurance for boaters?

No

On-Water Pursuits

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on on-water pursuit?

Yes

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on interstate on-water pursuit?

No

Transporting Subjects, Accident Victims, Guests

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on transporting subjects?

Yes

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on transporting accident victims?

No

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on transporting guests?

Yes

Officer Safety

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on requiring officers to wear Coast Guard-approved PFDs?

Yes

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on skin care safety for officers?

No

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on hearing safety for officers?

No

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on back safety for officers?

No

Towing Distressed Vessels

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on towing distressed vehicles?

Yes

First Responders, First Aid, Good Samaritans, Search and Rescue

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on being a first responder at an accident?

Yes

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on the use of first aid?

Yes

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on the Good Samaritan law?

No

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on search and rescue?

Yes

Inter-agency Interacton

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on interaction with local agencies?

Yes

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on interaction with other state agencies?

Yes

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on interaction with federal agencies?

Yes

Investigation of Theft & Fraud

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on investigation of theft?

Yes

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on investigation of fraud?

Yes

Employment

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on outside employment?

Yes

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on substance abuse?

Yes

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on off-duty responsibilities?

Yes

Firearms

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on firearms training?

Yes

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on firearms training recertification?

Yes

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on in-service training?

Yes

Deadly Force

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on use of deadly force?

Yes

Volunteers

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on use of volunteers?

Yes

BUI Checkpoints

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on use of BUI checkpoints?

No

Patrol Time

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on on-water patrol time as a safety factor?

No

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on working a percentage of time on night patrol?

No

Carrying Emergency Equipment

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on carrying emergency equipment (loaner PFDs, throw lines, etc.)?

Yes