Law Enforcement

General Boating Rules & Regulations

A Federal Regulation went into effect May 1, 1995, which requires operators of all boats to have at least one wearable life jacket or personal flotation device, for each person aboard. Under the new regulation a throwable PFD will no longer qualify as a life jacket on boats less than 16 feet. PFD requirements remain unchanged on boats 16 feet and over.

Section 59-21-31 of the Mississippi Code, prohibits the removal or alteration of awarded numbers or identification numbers affixed to vessels, boats, outboard motors, and trailers has been amended.  Additional language added to this section provides that no person may buy, sell, or possess a vessel, boat, outboard motor, or trailer on which any awarded number or identification number has been removed or altered.

Due to the increase in marine theft, a closer look is being taken at applications for boat registration when received.  Applications for boat registration with required information missing or information which appears to be incorrect, will be sent back to the applicant along with a boat inspection form to be completed by a conservation officer.  The application should then be resubmitted along with the completed boat inspection form.  All home-made boats will be inspected prior to registration.

The Alcohol Boating Safety Act makes it unlawful to operate a watercraft on the public waters of the State of Mississippi while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any other substance which has impaired the person's ability to operate a watercraft.

  • As a condition of operating a watercraft on the public waters of this state, the person operating the watercraft is deemed to have given consent to testing for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his blood.
  • "Watercraft" is defined as any motorized vessel with a motor of twenty-five horsepower or greater used for transportation on public waters, and any personal watercraft (jet skis).
  • "Public waters" is defined as all public waters over which the State of Mississippi has jurisdiction.
  • Penalties for conviction under this law are:
    a). First conviction - Fine no less than $250.00 nor more than $1,000.00, or imprisonment in jail for not more than 24 hours or both.  Violator must complete a boating safety course.
    b). Second conviction (within a five-year period) - Fine no less than $600.00 nor more than $1,000.00; and imprisonment not less than 48 consecutive hours nor more than one year or community service work for not less than ten days nor more than one year.  Court shall order violator not to operate a watercraft for one year.
    c). Third conviction (within a five-year period) - Fine no less than $800.00 nor more than $1,000.00; and imprisonment not less than thirty days nor more than one year.  Court shall order violator not to operate a watercraft for two years.
    d). Conviction of a fourth or subsequent violation (within a five-year period) is a FELONY OFFENSE.  Fine no less than $2,000.00 nor more than $5,000.00; and imprisonment in the state penitentiary for not less than ninety days nor more than five years.  Court shall order violator not to operate a watercraft for three years.

Effective July 1, 1997, any person born after June 30, 1980 must complete a Boating Safety Course to operate a boat.  Persons under 12 years of age must be accompanied by a person 21 or older on board the boat in order to operate the boat.

For persons who wish to learn more about Mississippi Boating Basics and the legal and safe practices for boat operators, a six hour instructor taught course is available for groups.  The Mississippi Boating Basics home-study course is available for persons who are unable to attend an instructor taught course.  Most insurance companies honor these courses by offering reductions in insurance premiums on completion.

Effective July l, l998, Mississippi will offer the option for titling boats and motors.  This is not a mandatory requirement; however, a more complete record will be obtained for boat owners.  A ten dollar fee will be charged for original applications, duplicates, or transfers.

For more information related to BOATING  and Boating Safety Classes, call (601)-432-2180 or write to: BOATING ENFORCEMENT, P. O. Box 451, Jackson, MS 39205-0451.


Boating Registration

Mississippi law requires all sailboats and every undocumented vessel equipped with propulsion machinery, whether or not such machinery is the principal source of propulsion, using the territorial and navigable waters of the State of Mississippi to be registered and numbered for identification.  No person may operate or give permission for the operation of any boat powered by machinery unless it is registered and numbered in accordance with the law.  The owner of any vessel required to be numbered has ten (10) days from the date for acquisition to register the boat.
Online Boat Registration

Fees for the award of certificates of number for original, transfer, renewals, livery, dealer and duplicate shall be as follows:

  • Less than 16 feet $10.20
  • 16 feet but less than 26 feet  $25.20
  • 26 feet but less than 40 feet $47.70
  • 40 feet and over $47.70
  • Dealer Number $40.20
  • Duplicate $7.70


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