Boating courses can keep you safe when out on the water

Someone can be as young as 12 and drive a boat, if they take a boating course first

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – You don’t need a boating license to drive a boat in Massachusetts, but there are still some things you should know before heading out on the water.

Someone can be as young as 12 and drive a boat on the Connecticut River in Massachusetts, but have to take a boating course first. Once you reach the age of 16, you can drive a boat without even having a driver’s license.

James Brunelle, the Captain of the Lady Bea at Brunelle’s Marina, said it’s safest if all boaters took the boating safety course as a precaution.

“I suggest going to a boating safety course,” Brunelle said. “They’re important so you know the rules of the river. A lot of people buy boats, they just go out and then just go have fun and not know all the rules.”

If you want to drive a jet ski you have to be at least 16 years old. Between 16 and 18, you have to take the boating safety course to know what the proper boating etiquette is. It’s also important to stay inside channel markers and to have life-vests on board.

There are also markers, called no-wake buoys, in the water. You have to slow your boat down so that it doesn’t leave a wake behind it until you pass a second set of buoys further out.