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Already have what you need to complete an application or renewal? Visit iMS, the department’s online application and renewal system, to get started

The information below will help you complete the application or renewal successfully.


A holder of a boat master license may operate any vessel navigating inland waters of the state of Minnesota that is propelled by machinery or sails and is carrying more than six passengers for hire. View requirements for operating boats for hire.

Requirements and qualifications

  • At least 15 hours of supervised training experience operating a boat for hire.

  • Affidavit signed by the licensed boat master who supervised the applicant's training experience.

  • Applicant must be at least 18 years old.

  • Application must be signed.

  • Must pass license examination with a score of at least 70 percent.

License fees

  • $50 application fee (exam qualification only)

  • $80 license fee

  • $80 renewal fee

  • $120 renewal fee with late fee

Length of license

Boat master licenses expire every two years at the end of the month in which the license was originally issued.

Application process

  • You must pass a written exam for a boat master license. To take the exam, all required applicant information must be provided for the application to be processed, including signed and notarized affidavits of training experience.

  • You can apply online to be approved to take the exam.

  • The exam fee is $50.

  • The applicant is notified by mail to schedule an exam date online.

  • When you are approved to take the exam you will be given instructions about how to schedule your exam.

  • View more information about exams.

Access iMS to begin the license application or renewal process


Individuals holding a valid, current charter boat captain's license issued by the United States Coast Guard are considered licensed to carry passengers for hire in Minnesota and not required to obtain this license.


  • Exam is 40 questions (closed book).

  • Exam covers operation, maintenance inspection, and operator licensing of boats carrying passengers for hire.

  • Exam results are emailed to the applicant after the completed exam is scored.


Continuing education

No continuing education hours are required.


Contact us at or 651-284-5034.