Environmental Police is the primary enforcement agency of the
Commonwealth’s boating and recreational vehicle laws and regulations. The
Office of Law Enforcement is responsible for registering boats, all terrain
vehicles and snowmobiles in Massachusetts. Boating safety enforcement and
recreational vehicle enforcement are an every day part of an Environmental
Police Officer’s patrol. With an enforcement fleet of over fifty vessels the
Environmental Police patrol all waters of the Commonwealth, both Inland and
safety handbook is designed to give Massachusetts boaters the
information needed to be a safe and responsible boater. You'll also find
Massachusetts law information including registration information,
registration fees, display of numbers, legal operating age, required
equipment, unlawful operation, boating under the influence, reporting
accidents, enforcement, environmental restrictions, and laws governing PWC
and vessels towing skiers.
Massachusetts Boating Laws
Summary of Massachusetts Personal Watercraft (PWC)
Alcohol and Drugs
Massachusetts has one of the strongest Boating Under the Influence
(BUI) laws in the nation. Massachusetts law prohibits anyone from
operating any vessel while under the influence of alcohol or any
- Massachusetts law states that a person is considered to be boating
under the influence (BUI) if he or she has a blood or breath alcohol
concentration of 0.08% or greater.
- Massachusetts law establishes the following penalties for BUI:
- Those convicted for the first time of BUI may be imprisoned for
up to 30 months, and fined up to $1,000 or imprisoned and fined.
Offenders may also have his or her motor vehicle license and
vessel's registration revoked for up to one year.
- Repeat offenders will receive more severe penalties.
- Offenders convicted of BUI and causing serious bodily injury to
another person may be imprisoned for up to 10 years and fined up to
- By operating a vessel on Massachusetts' waters, you have given
“implied” consent to alcohol testing if arrested for boating under the
influence. Anyone who refuses to submit to a blood alcohol level test
is subject to having their motor vehicle license and vessel's
registration revoked for 180 days.
- It is illegal for the owner or operator of a vessel to knowingly
permit it to be operated by someone under the influence of alcohol or
any controlled substance.
drinking and boating can be lethal...
The effect of alcohol is increased by the natural stressors (wind,
sun, vibration) placed on your body while boating. Also, the dehydration
of your body caused by the natural stressors causes alcohol to be
absorbed more quickly into your system.
Alcohol depresses the central nervous system and affects judgment and
slows reaction time. Most people become slightly intoxicated after only
Just remember this simple rule: Don't drink and boat!