Boating in N.H.
New Hampshire is a boater’s paradise!
You’re never more than a short drive away from a boatable lake, pond or river in the Granite State. There are more than 400 public federal and state-owned launch sites where you can get your motorboat, kayak or canoe into the water to fish, boat and paddle on New Hampshire’s scenic waterways.
Boating Education Required
New Hampshire has a mandatory boating education law. Everyone 16 years of age and older who operates a motorboat over 25 horsepower on New Hampshire waters must have a boating education certificate. Find a class at boatingeducation.nh.gov.
Register Your Boat
The NH Department of Safety is responsible for issuing boat registrations in New Hampshire. Call (603) 271-2333. A few boating registration fast facts:
- Which boats? All motorized vessels of any size must be registered, in addition to sailboats and sailboards 12 feet or longer. Unmotorized canoes, kayaks and small sailboats do not need to be registered.
- New boat: The boat owner must register in person at any NH Department of Motor Vehicles substation. Some marinas, sport shops, and town halls also can provide boat registrations; call first. The owner will be asked to show proof of ownership (such as a bill of sale) and a photo ID.
- Renewal: Once a boat is registered, registrants will receive a renewal form in the mail in subsequent years; boat registrations may be renewed by mail or in person.
Any vessel that is registered in another state may operate on New Hampshire waters for 30 consecutive days or less without a New Hampshire boat registration. Operators must have the appropriate Safe Boating Certificate.
NH Fish and Game owns and maintains 142 public boat access sites around the state. Visit fishnh.com/access for a list or to find Fish and Game boat ramps by town. For more information, call Fish and Game Boat Access Coordinator Garret Graaskamp at (603) 271-1748.
General Boating Information
NH Department of Safety
Marine Patrol Headquarters
Division of Safety Services
(603) 293-2037 or
See “Restricted Bodies of Water”
Boating Safety Courses
- Classes offered year-round by
NH Marine Patrol.
- Many locations throughout the state.
- Open to any boater over 14 years of age.
- Online study materials: boat-ed.com/nh
- NASBLA approved.
- Satisfies requirements of mandatory boating education law.
- For class schedule, call NH Marine Patrol at 1-888-254-2125 or visit boatingeducation.nh.gov.
- Be smart — boat safe!
Ten Tips for Safe Boating
- Don’t Overload Carry only the specified limit for your craft and don’t sit on the gunwales or the transom.
- Wear Life Jackets or Vests State law requires one wearable life preserver for each person in a boat. Kids 12 and under must wear a life preserver while underway on a vessel.
- Know the Water Always carry a chart (map) of the waters you are boating on.
- In an Accident Your first obligation is to save lives and help the injured. Call NH Marine Patrol: (603) 293-2037.
- Water and Alcohol Don’t Mix Sixty percent of boating fatalities in New Hampshire are alcohol-related. Don’t drink and boat—the .08 law applies to boaters, too!
- Use Your Lights All boats operating after dark must display lights to be visible to other boaters.
- Use Caution When passing within 150 feet of another boat, swimmers, rafts, shore, docks, or mooring fields, you must be at headway speed.
- Don’t Use the Water as a Dump It is illegal to litter or discharge sewage into the water.
- Don’t Harass Wildlife All wildlife are protected on the state’s waters, subject to strict hunting and fishing regulations.
- Take a Boating Safety Course For info call Marine Patrol at (603) 267-7256.
Drain Those Live Wells!
New Hampshire state law requires boaters to drain their boat and other equipment that holds water, including live wells and bilges, when leaving a waterbody.
Good Fishing Depends on Clean Water
Many of our rivers, lakes, and coastal areas are experiencing algae blooms that cover our favorite fishing spots with green slime and cause fish kills and “dead zones” where no aquatic life can survive. The cause is usually nitrogen and phosphorus pollution that comes from farm and lawn fertilizers, septic systems, animal waste, and sewage treatment plants. Everyone can do their part for clean water by reducing fertilizer use, preserving plants along shorelines, and picking up pet waste. Supporting water quality protection supports great fishing! Learn more at: epa.gov/nutrientpollution. A message from the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration:
More Than 80 Years of Restoring, Managing and Researching Fish and Wildlife
Our thanks to hunters, shooters, anglers, boaters, and our industry partners! With the purchase of firearms and ammunition, archery equipment, fishing equipment, and motorboat fuels, hunters, anglers, boaters, and manufacturers pay excise taxes that are distributed to state fish and wildlife agencies for approved projects.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service joins state fish and wildlife agencies, private industry and the public in a partnership to conserve fish and wildlife resources.
With help from more than $150 million in federal aid funding over more than 80 years, New Hampshire Fish and Game has been able to:
- Gain knowledge through research
- Manage fish and wildlife populations
- Acquire Wildlife Management Areas
- Improve and protect aquatic habitat
- Restore fish and wildlife populations
- Conduct Hunter and Aquatic Education programs
- Construct, upgrade, and maintain more than 140 public access sites for boating and fishing.
Your purchase of hunting and fishing equipment and motorboat fuels supports wildlife and sport fish
restoration and boating access facilities.
Diver There, Please Beware
New Hampshire state law requires boaters to stay at least 150 feet away from a red flag with a white stripe or other flags in the water. They signal that scuba divers are in the area.