Minnesota Statutes 326B.94 and Minnesota Rules 5225.6000 through 5225.7200 govern the requirements of boat owners and operators carrying passengers for hire on Minnesota's inland waters. The statutes and rules adopt the most relevant and appropriate U.S. Coast Guard requirements for boats operating in fresh water and inland bodies of water.
A boat governed by these laws is any vessel navigating inland waters of Minnesota that is propelled by machinery or sails and is carrying more than six passengers for hire. These vessels must have a permit to carry passengers for hire. They must have an annual safety inspection and a dry-dock inspection once every three years (or annually if the hull is made of wood). The vessels must also be operated by a licensed master.
A permit to carry passengers for hire is issued to a boat that satisfies Minnesota's inspection requirements. All boats must have an annual safety inspection, while the vessel is in the water, prior to carrying passengers for hire (Minnesota Rules 5225.6140). Boats constructed with wooden hulls must have a dry dock inspection annually. Boats with composite or metal hulls must have a dry dock inspection every three years (Minnesota Rules 5225.6140). Vessels operating with a current inspection certificate issued by the United States Coast Guard are exempt from the inspection requirements. Inspections are conducted by Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry boiler inspection personnel.
Any individual operating a boat for hire must hold a current boat master's license issued by the Department of Labor and Industry. The only exception is when the individual operating the boat for hire holds a valid, current Charter Boat Captain's license issued by the United States Coast Guard.
Please Note: The Department of Labor and Industry does not accept cash as payment for licenses, inspections, copy requests and other DLI services. Accepted methods of payment include checks, money orders and electronic payments that can be made through the DLI Web site.