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Missouri Boating Laws

Missouri law requires boaters to follow simple safety precautions and obtain a boating safety identification card.

To obtain a Boater Education Card, persons must take a boater safety course and pass a safety test:

RSMo§306.127 – Boating safety identification card required –

Beginning January 1, 2005, every person born after January 1, 1984, or as required pursuant to section 306.128, who operates a vessel on the lakes of this state shall possess, on the vessel, a boating safety identification card issued by the Water Patrol Division of the Missouri State Highway Patrol or its agent, which shows that he or she has:

(1)    Successfully completed a boating safety course . . . or
Successfully passed an equivalency examination . . .

[click here for full text of the statute:]

Courses are offered around the State and also can be completed online. 

[To find out a schedule for the next class in Missouri, check out the Missouri State Highway Patrol website click here]
[To review the free course materials and take the exam online, click here]

The Boater Safety Exam costs $20 and the lifetime Boater Education Card costs $15. So, for only $35, you can be a safety-certified boat operator in Missouri.

In addition to the license requirement, all persons on the water must follow standard safety “rules of the water,” just like any other driver.  These statutes apply to anyone operating any water device – including boats, jet skis, or surfboards; Missouri law defines “operate” as:

RSMo§306.113.1 – “Operate” Defined:

"operate" means to physically control the movement of a vessel in motion under mechanical or sail power in water.

For example, it is illegal to ski, surf, boat, or operate a jet ski recklessly or while drunk or under the influence of drugs:

 RSMo§306.110. Reckless and drunken operation or use of boats or skis prohibited.

  1. No person shall operate any motorboat or watercraft, or manipulate any water skis, surfboard or other waterborne device in a reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger the life or property of any person.
  2. No person shall operate any motorboat or watercraft, or manipulate any water skis, surfboard or other waterborne device while intoxicated or under the influence of any narcotic drug, barbiturate or marijuana.

    [To read all of the Missouri Statues for Boating Regulations, click here]

With rules this simple to follow, there is no excuse for reckless or careless boating.  Unfortunately, hundreds of people are injured each year because of careless, reckless, or inexperienced boat operators. 

If you are a victim of a boating accident, you could be suffering from physical injuries and facing costly medical bills.  You need an attorney experienced who is experienced with representing boating victims to help you navigate our legal system and advocate for your rights. 

Newman Bronson & Wallis has helped many clients who were hurt on our lakes and in our rivers recover compensation for these damages.  We want our waterways to be safe places for your families, our families, and our community.  Contact us today and tell us what happened – we are here to answer your questions and tell you how we can advocate for your rights for no charge or obligation.  Help us help you; help us keep our community aware of water safety rules and necessary precautions.

Click here to read what you should do if you have been involved in a boating accident in MO.

[To find out how to obtain a boating permit and attend boater education courses, check out the Missouri Water Patrol website click here ]