Mississippi Boater Education Requirements
Mississippi mandates that individuals born after June 30, 1980, must complete an official Boating Safety Course to legally operate a boat. Children below the age of 12 are also required to be under the supervision of someone at least 21 years old while operating the boat.
To bolster your understanding of boating safety and legal operating practices, Mississippi offers a comprehensive instructor-led course, lasting six hours, available for groups. This course, taught by MDWFP officers and volunteers, is recognized across the United States and can be a valuable asset for boaters.
Boater Education Class Availability
Prospective boaters looking to enhance their knowledge or seeking certification can search for classes via the MDWFP website. For those who may find it challenging to attend an in-person course, the state of Mississippi provides alternative online boating courses. These online options offer the flexibility to complete the course at your own pace and are presently acknowledged by the MDWFP:
- Boat-Ed – Visit boat-ed.com for a paid course.
- Boater Exam – Accessible via boaterexam.com for a fee.
- Boat US – Free course options are available at boatus.org/mississippi/.
Upon completing any of these courses, boaters are expected to keep proof of their successful course completion while boating in Mississippi waters. While these courses are accepted statewide, it is important to note that other jurisdictions may not recognize these online accreditations.
Replacing a Lost Boater Education Card
In the event you misplace your Boater Education card, the MDWFP website facilitates the acquisition of a duplicate card. A temporary card is downloadable immediately after purchase, ensuring no interruption to your boating activities. The nominal fee for a duplicate card is $3.00, available to those who originally completed the course through the MDWFP.
Additional Boating and Titling Options
Starting from July 1, 1998, Mississippi introduced an optional titling process for boats and motors. This initiative is designed to provide a more thorough record for boat ownership, charging a $10 fee for original applications, duplicates, or transfers, though titling is not compulsory.
Contact MDWFP for Education and Community Engagement
If you aspire to become a Boater or Hunter Education Instructor or are seeking safety talks, community event participation, or educational integration into schools, you can contact your area’s Coordinator by clicking here on the MDWFP website.
For further information regarding boating and boating safety classes, the Education Desk at MDWFP can be reached at 601-432-2180 or 601-432-2181. This resource is geared towards ensuring that all boaters have ready access to the necessary training and education for safe and enjoyable boating experiences on Mississippi's waterways.
General Boating Rules & Regulations
A Federal Regulation went into effect May 1, 1995, which requires operators of all boats to have at least one wearable life jacket or personal flotation device, for each person aboard. Under the new regulation a throwable PFD (Type IV) will no longer qualify as a life jacket on boats less than 16 feet. PFD requirements remain unchanged on boats 16 feet and over.
Section 59-21-31 of the Mississippi Code, prohibits the removal or alteration of awarded numbers or identification numbers affixed to vessels, boats, outboard motors, and trailers has been amended. Additional language added to this section provides that no person may buy, sell, or possess a vessel, boat, outboard motor, or trailer on which any awarded number or identification number has been removed or altered.
Due to the increase in marine theft, a closer look is being taken at applications for boat registration when received. Applications for boat registration with required information missing or information which appears to be incorrect, will be sent back to the applicant along with a boat inspection form to be completed by a conservation officer. The application should then be resubmitted along with the completed boat inspection form. All home-made boats will be inspected prior to registration.
The Alcohol Boating Safety Act makes it unlawful to operate a watercraft on the public waters of the State of Mississippi while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any other substance which has impaired the person's ability to operate a watercraft.
- As a condition of operating a watercraft on the public waters of this state, the person operating the watercraft is deemed to have given consent to testing for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his blood.
- "Watercraft" is defined as any motorized vessel with a motor of twenty-five horsepower or greater used for transportation on public waters, and any personal watercraft (jet skis).
- "Public waters" is defined as all public waters over which the State of Mississippi has jurisdiction.
- Penalties for conviction under this law are:
a). First conviction - Fine no less than $250.00 nor more than $1,000.00, or imprisonment in jail for not more than 24 hours or both. Violator must complete a boating safety course.
b). Second conviction (within a five-year period) - Fine no less than $600.00 nor more than $1,000.00; and imprisonment not less than 48 consecutive hours nor more than one year or community service work for not less than ten days nor more than one year. Court shall order violator not to operate a watercraft for one year.
c). Third conviction (within a five-year period) - Fine no less than $800.00 nor more than $1,000.00; and imprisonment not less than thirty days nor more than one year. Court shall order violator not to operate a watercraft for two years.
d). Conviction of a fourth or subsequent violation (within a five-year period) is a FELONY OFFENSE. Fine no less than $2,000.00 nor more than $5,000.00; and imprisonment in the state penitentiary for not less than ninety days nor more than five years. Court shall order violator not to operate a watercraft for three years.
Effective July 1, 1997, any person born after June 30, 1980 must complete a Boating Safety Course to operate a boat. Persons under 12 years of age must be accompanied by a person 21 or older on board the boat in order to operate the boat.
For persons who wish to learn more about Mississippi Boating Basics and the legal and safe practices for boat operators, a six hour instructor taught course is available for groups. The Mississippi Boating Basics home-study course is available for persons who are unable to attend an instructor taught course. Most insurance companies honor these courses by offering reductions in insurance premiums on completion.
Effective July l, l998, Mississippi will offer the option for titling boats and motors. This is not a mandatory requirement; however, a more complete record will be obtained for boat owners. A ten dollar fee will be charged for original applications, duplicates, or transfers.
For more information related to BOATING and Boating Safety Classes, call (601)-432-2178 or write to: BOATING ENFORCEMENT, P. O. Box 451, Jackson, MS 39205-0451.
Mississippi law requires all sailboats and every undocumented vessel equipped with propulsion machinery, whether or not such machinery is the principal source of propulsion, using the territorial and navigable waters of the State of Mississippi to be registered and numbered for identification. No person may operate or give permission for the operation of any boat powered by machinery unless it is registered and numbered in accordance with the law. The owner of any vessel required to be numbered has ten (10) days from the date for acquisition to register the boat.
Online Boat Registration
Fees for the award of certificates of number for original, transfer, renewals, livery, dealer and duplicate shall be as follows:
- Less than 16 feet $10.20
- 16 feet but less than 26 feet $25.20
- 26 feet but less than 40 feet $47.70
- 40 feet and over $47.70
- Dealer Number $40.20
- Duplicate $7.70
Mississippi Boat Registration Process
Mississippi offers a convenient way to register your boat online or by completing and mailing in the registration application. Boat owners who prefer to mail in their registration should send necessary documents, including signed paperwork, to MDWFP Headquarters with a check, cashier's check, money order, or cash for on-site registration. The MDWFP Boat Registration form is easily accessible at any local tax collector's office, outlets selling or servicing boats, MDWFP Regional Offices, and online for download.
New Boat Registration Steps
- For newly bought boats from a dealer, a sales invoice copy and proof of Mississippi sales tax payment (if an out-of-state purchase) are required.
- If purchasing from an individual who previously registered/titled the boat in Mississippi, previous registration, original titles, and a witnessed or notarized bill of sale are needed.
Boat registrations require a 12-digit Hull Identification Number (HIN) for boats made after November 1972; earlier models will have a serial number. Any discrepancies in HIN require an inspection by an MDWFP officer, using the MDWFP Boat Inspection Form available online or at Regional or Jackson Offices.
Renewing Your Boat Registration
Ahead of expiration, MDWFP sends a renewal notice 60 days in advance, with options to renew online, via a 24/7 phone service (1-800-5GO-HUNT), at locations selling hunting and fishing licenses, or by mailing to MDWFP Headquarters. Always inform MDWFP of address changes to ensure receipt of your renewal notice.
Boat and Motor Titling
Boat titling is available and follows after boat registration. Signed and notarized title applications must be sent to MDWFP with the same payment options applicable for registration. Titles are only processed at MDWFP Headquarters, whether applying for new titles or duplicates.
Losing Your Boat Registration Card or Decals
Replace lost or stolen registration cards or decals through locations where hunting and fishing licenses are sold, by phone (1-800-5GO-HUNT), online, or at the MDWFP Headquarters.
Displaying Boat Registration Numbers
Mississippi law requires that boat registration numbers be properly displayed on each side of the bow, in block characters that are at least three inches tall and in a color that contrasts with the background.
Boat Registration Validity
Boat registrations are valid for three years from the date of registration. The expiration date is stated on the registration card. To avoid a shorter validity period, renew the registration before its expiration date.
Notifying MDWFP Upon Sale of Your Boat
When selling your boat, inform MDWFP by calling the Boat Registration Department, updating your information on the MDWFP website, or submitting the updated information via email. Provide the new owner with a copy of the current registration. The new owner will need to complete a boat registration application and provide appropriate documents to transfer the registration.
Reporting a Stolen, Lost, or Abandoned Boat
Report any theft, loss, or abandonment first to local authorities, then to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks at 601-432-2400.
Additional Boating Resources
Boaters can also access various boating education tools, shooting ranges, and hunting amenities throughout Mississippi by checking the provided addresses and contacting the relevant regional office for more information.
Boat Registration Application Forms:
- Individual Boat Registration Application
- Business Boat Registration Application
- Boat & Motor Title Application(s)
- Boat Inspection Form
For duplicate boating education cards, the online purchase option is available, or you can mail a request with a $3.00 fee to MDWFP.
For any steps related to boat registration, titling, or obtaining duplicates, you can click here to navigate to the appropriate MDWFP web page. Remember to keep your boat registration card on board at all times during operation and to comply with Mississippi's boating laws and guidelines.