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DOBOR Boating Rules

Boater Education

Boaters must carry proof of certification at all times. Online classroom and home study courses are available.


State Rules:

All individuals who operate a motorized vessel in Hawaii’s State waters must have taken a boating safety course and carry proof of certification.


Boater Registration

Boaters may register at any DOBOR District Office
Boaters may renew online:

State Rules:

Some vessels in the State of Hawaii are issued “HA” numbers, which indicates their boat is registered with the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
The HA number should be displayed:
• on the forward half of the boat,
• in colors contrasting with the hull,
• in plain typeface,
• at a minimum of three inches high.
Vessels may also be Federally documented and will have a boat name, and port of call.


Use Permits

State Rules:

There are two types of use permits:
1. Commercial use permit – for commercial operators, have limits on number of users per facility;

2. Recreational use permit–needed for certain activities at small boat harbors including mooring, staying aboard, use of a boat as a vacation site, houseboats, storing boats


Day Use Mooring Buoys

State Rules:

A vessel can use day use moorings for up to 2.5 hours when another vessel is waiting to use the buoy.

Overnight mooring is prohibited.

No anchoring is allowed within 100 yards of any day use mooring.


Boating Equipment Requirements

Federal Rules: 

All recreational vessels must carry one wearable life jacket for each person on board. Any boat 16 feet and longer (except canoes and kayaks) must also carry one throwable (Type 4) cushion or buoy;

Children under 13 must wear life jackets while the boat is docked, launching, underway, drifting, grounded, and anchored offshore;


Children are not required to wear a life jacket while they are below deck or in an enclosed cabin;
Not all inflatable PFDs will be counted toward carriage requirements unless they are worn.

For information about mandatory boating safety visit:

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