ABA Boat Maintenance & Repair Questions and Responses
The information contained herein is
the opinion of ABA member and marine mechanic Tim Harrington of
Madison Marine Service, Harwich, Massachusetts. Tim is responding to
a question solely based on the information an ABA member provided. Neither
ABA, nor Tim Harrington, nor Madison Marine Service assume any
responsibility or liability for events that occur due to actions you
or others on your behalf take based on the information given in Tim's
response. You are proceeding at your own risk.
Q: What is the H.P. range that a 13 year old can drive by himself, if
he just got his license?
I would start by saying SAFETY FIRST. There are boat handling and
safety classes for boaters under the age of 16 available. I would look
to the Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron as well as your
local marine fisheries or Department of Natural Resources division to
provide you with information on what classes are available for junior
boaters in your area. You can access the Coast Guard and Power
Squadron through ABA's website at
www.americanboating.org/links.htm; go to the Boating
Safety section and you'll see both listed there. In my area, Cape Cod,
most of the kids at that age are in little runabouts, with horsepower
in the range of 5-25 horsepower. Certainly, only you and your family
can make the decision on how much power your 13-year-old can handle
based on the amount of his knowledge, experience, and maturity. The
most important thing is to teach safety, wearing of life preservers,
etc. I hope this puts you in the right direction and gives your young
one a start in a lifetime of boating.
Q. Is there a
regulation stating how many adults must be on a boat when minors are
present? (i.e. 5 minors with 1 adult)
I have received your question regarding the number of adults and
children in a boat. Since boating laws can vary from state to state,
my suggestion would be to contact your state boating office. In
Indiana, the boating office is in the Department of Natural Resources.
The web address is
While keeping within what the state law says
regarding the adult to minor ratio, you also have to use your best
judgment. Depending on the age and maturity of the minors, you may
want to have more adults in the vessel than the law calls for. Also,
make sure that all minors wear properly fitted life vests. It is
always a good idea for all adults to also wear a life vest.