Boating Safety in Maryland

Following Governor Larry Hogan’s emergency actions to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maryland Natural Resources Police is immediately suspending all in-person boater education courses until further notice.

DNR In-Person Safety Education and Certification Classes Will Resume
Safety Protocols Must Be Followed for Boating, Hunting, and Trapping Courses
Beginning in August and September, the Maryland Natural Resources Police will resume in-person safety education and certification classes. For all classes, face coverings and social distancing will be required to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and assure the safety of students and instructors.​ Read more...​


Due to the current situation with Covid-19 and social distancing, the Safety Education and Outreach Unit of the MD Natural Resources Police has coordinated efforts with their instructors to provide the MD Basic Boating Course, normally offered in the classroom, on-line. We are striving to maintain our high standards of education by seeking alternative methods to continue classroom based instruction. Please see the listings below for more information. Thank you for your patience as we make every effort to provide you with the best possible boating safety instruction during this time of uncertainty.​

Potential boater education students are encouraged to take the online field of study course, which is offered by the following private vendors:

  • Boat Ed - - or call 1-800-830-2268
  • Boater Exam - or call 1-866-764-2628
  • Boat US Foundation - or call 1-800-245-2628

Successful completion of any one of the online courses listed above will satisfy Maryland’s boating safety education requirement.

We will resume normal operations as soon as safely possible. Please continue to check the department’s Boater Education website for any updates.

Anyone with questions should email

The Boating Safety Education Law requires that anyone born on, or after July 1, 1972, must have a certificate of boating safety education on them while operating a numbered or documented vessel on Maryland waters. Click here to learn how to obtain a valid Boating Safety Certificate.

Bow Riding is Illegal

Ride Inside Boating Safety Poster


  • A typical three-blade propeller running at 3,200 rpm can inflict up to 160 cuts in one second.
  • A typical propeller can travel from head to toe in less than one tenth of a second.
  • Most propeller strikes are preventable.


  1. NEVER allow passengers to ride on the bow, gunwale, transom, seat backs, or other spots where they might fall overboard.
  2. Wear your engine cut-off switch lanyard and your life jacket at ALL times. If the lanyard is removed from the switch, the engine will not shut off.
  3. Assign a passenger to keep watch around the propeller area of your boat when people are in the water.
  4. Consider purchasing propeller safety devices for your boat.

For more information: Understand the Dangers of Propeller Strikes


Online Services


Chesapeake Bay Hotline

Call 1-877-224-7229
to report any of the following

  • Boating accident or reckless activity
  • Fish kill or algal bloom
  • Floating debris that poses a hazard to navigation
  • Illegal fishing activity
  • Public sewer leak or overflow
  • Oil or hazardous material spill
  • Critical area or wetlands violation
  • Suspicious or unusual activity