License Minnesota

Annual Boat Operating Permit

Boat means any vessel navigating inland waters of the state that is propelled by machinery or sails, is carrying passengers for hire, and is 21 feet or more in length.

Agency contact information:

Labor and Industry (DLI), Minnesota Department of
443 Lafayette Road N.
St. Paul, MN 55155
(651) 284-5005 | (800) 342-5354 | (651) 297-4198 (TTY)
Construction Codes and Licensing Division (CCLD)
Boats for Hire
(651) 284-5544 | (800) 342-5354 | (651) 297-4198 (TTY)
Contact Info:



Check the status of a license/certificate/registration/bond

Online Payment Center

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) oversees the state's apprenticeship, construction codes and licensing, occupational safety and health, wage and hour standards and workers' compensation programs and the Office of Combative Sports.


Minn. Stats. 326B.94




Boat Definition:
Boat means any vessel navigating inland waters of the state that is propelled by machinery or sails, is carrying passengers for hire, and is 21 feet or more in length.

Application for Annual Boat Operating Permit

Applications are available on the MN Dept. of Labor & Industry (DLI) website, Boats-for-hire section at Application for annual boat operating permit.


Safety inspections:  
All boats must have an annual safety inspection, while the vessel is in the water, prior to carrying passengers for hire (Minn. Rules 5225.6140).

Dry dock inspections:
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 (Minn. Rules 5225.6140).

Inspection information:
Subpart 1: Inspections required -- Boats, as defined by Minn. Rules 5225.6100, subpart 2, are required to have an annual safety inspection and boat-hull inspection to carry passengers for hire. It is the boat owner's or lessee's responsibility to schedule and obtain the annual safety inspection or boat-hull inspection as required in this part.

Subp. 1a: Safety inspection -- An annual safety inspection by the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) is required of any boat carrying passengers for hire. The owner or lessee of the boat shall affix a sticker provided by DLI in a conspicuous place that is visible to other watercraft that indicates the boat was inspected.

Subp. 1b: Dry dock inspection -- A boat's hull shall be inspected in dry dock, separate from the annual safety inspection, by the Department of Labor and Industry or by a certified marine surveyor. The dry dock inspection shall be a comprehensive inspection according to Minn. Rules 5225.6050, subpart 2. Boats with wooden hulls shall have an annual dry dock inspection. Boats with metal or composite hulls shall be subject to a dry dock inspection once every three years. The boat owner is responsible for obtaining an inspection of the boat hull required under this subpart, including its cost. Dry dock inspections conducted by the Department of Labor and Industry constitute a separate fee and shall be at the rates given in Minn. Rules 5225.8600, subpart 7.

Subp. 1c: Coast Guard exemption -- A boat with a safety inspection conducted by the United States Coast Guard and authorized to carry passengers on waters under the jurisdiction of the United States Coast Guard is exempt from the annual safety inspection required under this part. A comprehensive boat inspection by the United States Coast Guard within the specified time frames exempts that boat from both the safety inspection and dry dock inspection requirements of this part. The boat owner shall provide the department written documentation or evidence that the boat passed the requisite inspections.

Subp. 2: Inspections optional -- Boats that are less than 21 feet in length may be inspected by the department at the owner's request, if the owner pays for the inspection. Boats less than 21 feet must meet the safety equipment requirements established by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Subp. 3: Inspection standards -- The division shall conduct the inspection based on the Code of Federal Regulations, title 46, as applicable to fresh water and inland waters, and the requirements in Minn. Rules 5225.6000-.8600.

Refer also to the Inspection Guide for Commercial Vessels Used for Hire on Inland Waters of Minnesota and Navigation Guide For Commercial Vessels Used for Hire On Inland Waters of Minnesota.


Permit and safety inspection - $200

Licensing surcharge to be assessed

The Minnesota Office of Enterprise Technology (OET) sponsored and the Minnesota Legislature passed legislation requiring a 10% surcharge of no less than $5 and no more than $150 on each business, commercial, professional or occupational license. The funding from this surcharge will go to OET, which is establishing an electronic licensing system for the state. The surcharge will be in place through June 30, 2015. See Minn. Stat. § 16E.22.

Length of Determination Process:

All requests must be received in our office a minimum of 60 days prior to being inspected.

Other Pertinent Information:

See also Update an Existing License