Maine Boating Laws
Practice Safe Boating on Maine Waters
Personal Watercraft (PWC) Requirements
- Any person under 16 years of age may not operate a personal watercraft which includes jet-skis.
- A person between 16 & 18 years of age may operate a personal watecraft if they have successfully completed an approved education course, or if they are accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older. Proof of age and course completion must be possessed while operating a personal watercraft.
- Anyone operating or riding on a personal watercraft must wear a Type I, II or III PFD.
- The parent or guardian of a minor under 18 years of age is responsible for the minor’s actions while operating a personal watercraft.
- Personal watercraft may not be operated during the hours between sunset and sunrise.
Please be aware that many waters have prohibitions on operating personal watercraft.
Visual Distress Signals on Coastal Waters
Any boat 16 feet or more in length or any boat carrying six or less passengers for hire on coastal waters must carry U.S. Coast Guard approved visual distress signals (which must be readily available and in good serviceable condition). Devices suitable for day use and devices suitable for night use, or devices suitable for both day and night use must be carried.
Between sunset and sunrise, no person may use a boat less than 16 feet in length on coastal waters unless U.S. Coast Guard approved visual distress signals suitable for night use are on board.
No person may use a boat unless the required U.S. Coast Guard approved visual distress signals are readily available and in good and serviceable condition.
The following persons are exempt from carrying visual distress devices suitable for day use, however, they must carry on board U.S. Coast Guard approved visual distress signals suitable for night use when operating between sunset and sunrise.
a. A person competing in any organized marine parade, regatta, race or similar event;
b. A person using a manually propelled boat; or
c. A person using a sailboat of completely open construction, not equipped with propulsion machinery, under 26' in length.
Laws Pertaining to Airmobiles
This subchapter is in no way to be construed as giving license or permission to cross or go on the property of another. Any person operating an airmobile upon the land of another shall stop and identify himself upon the request of the landowner or the landowner’s duly authorized representative. Any person in violation shall be held accountable to the owner under existing law. If restrictions on operation are posted on the land of another, the person operating the airmobile shall observe those restrictions.
Airmobiles cannot be operated on a public way except as follows: Properly registered airmobiles may cross public ways, sidewalks and culverts as directly as possible, but in no case exceeding 300 yards. A properly registered airmobile may cross where there is a bridge, overpass or underpass, as directly as possible, but in no case exceeding 500 yards. All crossings are subject to the following conditions:
1. Persons may cross public ways only if the crossing can be made safely and does not interfere with vehicular traffic approaching from either direction;
2. The operator of the airmobile shall dismount and lead the machine along the extreme right of the traveled way; and
3. The operator of the airmobile must come to a complete stop and shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicular traffic.
Airmobiles cannot be operated along or adjacent and parallel to the tracks of any railroad within the limits of the railroad right-of-way without written permission from the railroad.
Airmobiles cannot be operated within 200 feet of a dwelling, hospital, nursing home, convalescent home or church. This section does not apply:
1. When crossing a public way as described above.
2. When operating on the frozen surface of any body of water; and
3. When operating on land which the operator owns or is permitted to use.
The noise from an airmobile cannot exceed 78 decibels of sound pressure at 50 feet on the “A” scale, as measured by the Society of Automobile Engineers Standards J-192. An airmobile is not required to stay within the noise limit if it is being operated in a race covered by the required racing permit.
An airmobile cannot be operated on a beach adjacent to an area marked or buoyed for swimming.
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Registration Information -
All motorboats of any size, including airmobiles and personal watercraft, must be registered in Maine to be used on the waters of this State, except the following….
Motor Size Restrictions On Internal Waters -
The Commissioner of Inland Fisheries & wildlife may adopt and amend rules governing the horsepower (manufacturer's rated horse-power of the machinery; includes the aggregate of all such propellant machinery) of motors used to propel watercraft on all internal waters of this State.
Navigational Requirements -
These requirements cover all navigational requirements for all waters in the State of Maine.
Personal Watercraft Requirements -
•Any person under 16 years of age may not operate a personal watercraft which includes jet-skis.
•A person between 16 & 18 years of age may operate a personal watecraft if they have successfully completed an approved education course, or if they are accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older. Proof of age and course completion must be possessed while operating a personal watercraft.
•Anyone operating or riding on a personal watercraft must wear a Type I, II or III PFD.
•The parent or guardian of a minor under 18 years of age is responsible for the minor’s actions while operating a personal watercraft.
•Personal watercraft may not be operated during the hours between sunset and sunrise.
Liability Laws -
No person may throw, drop, deposit, discard or otherwise dispose of litter in any manner or amount: in or on any public highway, road, street, alley, public right-of-way or other public lands, except in containers, receptacles, or on property that is designated for disposal of garbage and refuse; or in any fresh water lake, river, stream, tidal or coastal water or on ice over the water. When any litter is thrown or discarded from a watercraft both the operator of the watercraft, unless it is a watercraft being used for the carriage of passengers for hire, and the person actually disposing of the litter are in violation of this section. This subsection does not prohibit persons who fish, lobster or otherwise harvest from the water from returning to the water harvested products, bait and similar materials that naturally originate in the water.