Legal Requirements

Legal Requirements

  • Registration for all boats, canoes and kayaks
  • A life jacket for each person
  • Children under age 10 must wear a life jacket—check the Minnesota Boating Guide for more information.
  • A throwable cushion or ring buoy for each boat 16’ or more, except canoes & kayaks
  • Navigation lights after sunset—including canoes & kayaks
  • Fire extinguisher—if you have an enclosed engine or fuel tank
  • Visual distress signals—check federal regulations
  • Whistle or horn for motorboats 16’ or longer

Lake Superior is a wonderful resource for boaters and anglers, but heading out onto the lake unprepared, with a poorly maintained or undersized boat and no “big water” boating knowledge is a recipe for disaster. Please consider the following before you head out on Minnesota's Great Lake:

  • Taking a boating safety course—courses are offered by volunteer organizations, such as the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Power Squadrons.
  • Having a free Vessel Safety Check done by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons to make sure your boat is ready for the lake.

This is not a complete listing of boating requirements or safety tips. Contact the Minnesota DNR at (888) 646-6367 or email info.dnr@state.mn.us for more information.