Dave I don't know where you live, but here are th rules in Oregon. Those less than 12 years of age:
May not legally operate any size powerboat.
Those 12 to 15 years of age:
May legally operate a vessel powered by a motor of 10 hp or less alone only if he/she has received his/her boater education card and is carrying it on board.
May legally operate a vessel powered by a motor of greater than 10 hp only if he or she:
Has received his/her boater education card and ...
Is accompanied on board and is under the direct supervision of a parent, guardian, or responsible person 16 years old or older who possesses a valid boater education card. If the vessel is a personal watercraft, the supervising person must be at least 18 years old and possess a valid boater education card.
Thanks, I was watching E force a while back and a kid was sitting in front of there dad on a jet ski and dad got a ticket because the kid was steering. I let a frirnd use my boat and he let his kid drive it but his dad was sitting next to him . I wasn't sure if that was o k.
I had this exact conversation with a Sheriff in Central Oregon. He said that he doesn't want to get in the way of passing on boating traditions and memories to sons and daughters. He will not ticket a boat if the parent is directly supervising (can put hands on wheel and throttle in a second). However, if he sees parent walking around boat or talking to others while kid is driving then- ticket.
He also said that this is up to the discretion of each officer and technically you could be cited if a kid has the controls and you do not.
Forgive me for hijacking your thread but I wanted to elaborate a bit on this subject.
I have twin 10 YO boys and I have taught them how to operate my boat for two reasons:
1) Safety- If I was to have a medical emergency, they need to know how to get back to shore or dock safely. We actually safety drill for this.
2) I want to create tradition and strong bond with my kids and boating, fishing, outdoors, etc. They are ready for this now and are totally loving it. If I waited until they were teenagers before I let them touch the boat, would it be too late?
I must brag on my boys because we actually had an emergency this summer. We were out on Detroit and the other adult on board had a mild stroke. As a medical professional, I noticed the signs immediately. I told my boys that this was a real emergency and they needed to get us back to the dock. While I called 911 and tended to our passenger, one boy trimmed the motor down, started it and motored back to the dock while the other one watched for boats and hazards. They stayed calm and executed the drilled plan flawlessly.
An ambulance met us at the ramp and our passenger recovered fully after a visit to the hospital. He considers my boys heroes.
I want to emphasize that whenever my boys drive, I am hovering over them vigilantly and that I take the controls whenever there is a potential hazard.
I also want to thank the Sheriff that I met (I can't remember his name) for his discretion and support of kids and safe boating.