MN Governor signs new boater safety legislation into law

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed the Environment Budget bill (MN H.F. 2310) into law on May 24. The legislation contains a boater safety education provision that promotes responsible and safe boating practices. The bill reinforces the state’s commitment to promote safe and responsible boating practices and has long been supported by the recreational boating and fishing industry.

The Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) is responsible for establishing a water safety course and testing program for personal watercraft and watercraft operators. This course must include a written test and be approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). A working group of interested parties will collaborate under the commissioner’s guidance to develop course content.

A permit is granted upon successfully completing a water safety course and written test, or by providing proof of completing a program recognized under a reciprocity agreement. The law exempts operators born on or before July 1, 1987, and allows for an accompanying operator to be present on the motorboat.

The legislation seeks to protect both boaters and the precious water resources of Minnesota through emphasizing ecological conservation and best user practices.

“The National Marine Manufacturers Association, and recreational boating and fishing industry at-large, applaud the Minnesota legislature for prioritizing safe boating this session, just as we kick off boating season,” said Jesse McArdell, NMMA’s Northeast and Midwest Policy and Engagement manager. “We look forward to continuing our work alongside state lawmakers to ensure a safe boating experience for all.”

“The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas and our more than 20 Minnesota based members are excited to see boater education legislation pass this session and create a safter boating community,” said Chad Tokowicz, Government Relations Manager for the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas. “Known as the Land of 10,000 lakes and boasting the second highest number of registered boats in the country, it is imperative Minnesota lead by example and champion comprehensive boater safety education and programs”.

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