Boating FAQs

Posted By: Sheriff’s Office,

Does a water safety merit badge from Scouting qualify as an operator’s permit?

No, an operators permit is still required.

If we are just renting a PWC for the day, does our son / daughter still need an operator’s permit?

Yes, you will still need a permit.

I’m 16 years old and have my drivers license, do I need a permit to operate a watercraft?

Yes, if its over 25hp.

Are there speed limits on a lake for any type of water craft?

No, but you are responsible for any damage caused by your wake.

Where can I get a copy of the Minnesota boating laws?

You can pick up a copy at the Sheriffs office in Fergus Falls or Ottertail City. Also, many gas stations, bait shops carry copies as well as the Minnesota DNR website.

Do I need a fire extinguisher onboard my boat?

All boats less than 26’ with enclosed engines or fuel tanks are required to have one.

What is a throwable, do I need this?

A throwable is a buoyant cushion, or ring buoy. They are designed to be thrown to a person in the water, rather than worn. All boats (except canoes and kayaks) 16 feet or longer are required to have one.

Do I need a horn on my boat?

All motorboats 16 feet or longer are required to have a whistle or horn capable of producing a continuous sound for 2 seconds and audible for at least one-half mile.

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Posted By: Sheriff’s Office,

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