They can hit speeds of fifty miles-per-hour, with no seat belts, and no brakes, yet thousands of parents let their kids operate their boats with no education to back them up. Wildlife Resource Commission officials say for a jet ski, North Carolina law requires a child to be over 14 and to take a safety course, but those same criteria don't apply to the bigger, more powerful boats. In fact, North Carolina law allows any child, any age, with no boater safety qualifications the go-ahead to get behind the wheel of a boat and drive. And that doesn't sit well with some mariners who think there should be restrictions..
Boater safety classes are offered by both the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Wildlife Resource Commission and are recommended before getting behind the wheel of a boat. In most cases, the classes are also free.