Does Everyone On The Boat Need A Fishing License?

People like to crowd in the fishing hotspots with their boats during the fishing season. Keeping this in mind, does everyone on the boat need a fishing license? Even the ones who are not fishing?

There are no direct laws that dictate you to carry a fishing license if you are not participating in tasks like fishing, holding the fishing rod, or drawing a line. If you are just there to enjoy the boat ride and watch others fishing, you are not required to carry the license. But depending on the situation you might get into trouble.

So it is very important to understand the fishing license requirements and how you can fall into trouble even if you are not fishing on the boat.

If you are properly educated and understand how to be safe you are less likely to get in trouble with the law and enjoy a good ride. So let us help with the information about if you would require a fishing license just for being on the boat.

Fishing License Requirements

Fishing License Requirements

Before we get into the main discussion, it is very important to know about the fishing license requirements. Maybe you won’t have to have a fishing license if you are in a certain age group or under a certain condition even if you are fishing. So lets us take a look at the requirements based on age.

Age 16 and Under

If your age is either 16 or under, you are not required by any means to get a fishing license. Youth can participate in any form of fishing but will have to respect the fishing regulations, the size of the equipment, the limit of storage, and baits. They also need to keep proof of age for safety.

Above Ages 16 to 65

If you are falling in this age group then you will be required to carry a fishing license. Without a fishing license, you won’t be able to either fish or help catch a fish in any way. Even trying to cast lines will be considered an offense.

Age 65+

If your age is 65+ you are not required to carry any fishing license for fishing or helping to catch a fish. But you must carry proof of age and residency so you can provide it when asked to show. You can also collect the resident 65+ Fish/Hunt certificate for free, but it is not a must.

There are also a few other exceptions for fishing license requirements. These exceptions are given below:

A mentally disabled person who is recreationally fishing under the direct supervision of medical staff for medical therapy doesn’t require a fishing license. But they are required to carry identification and authorization from the medical facility he/she is currently being treated in.

A mentally disabled person who is fishing under the supervision of a family member who has an angler license would not require a fishing license of any kind. But he must carry a signed prescription from the doctor he is under as proof of his disability. 

The free fishing day is held on the first Saturday of June every year. On this day, no matter in which age group you fall, you are not required to carry a fishing license or any kind of permit. You can hunt or fish and can assist in fishing without getting in trouble with the law.

There are also 3 types of fishing licenses. You need to secure the exact type of license you require for fishing. The types of licenses are given below:

Freshwater License

If you are fishing in the freshwater or sweetwater and catching fishes that are considered freshwater fishes, you would require a freshwater fishing license. With this license, you are only permitted to fish for freshwater fish and use the required equipment for freshwater. If you capture a seawater fish, you have to immediately release it back into the water.

Saltwater License

If you are looking to fish in the seas or saltwater, you would require a saltwater license. With this license, you are allowed to capture any game fish that you can find in saltwater using the permitted gadget and gear. You are not allowed to catch any freshwater fish and will have to release it back into the water if caught.

All water license

If you are fishing at a point where both the freshwater and seawater fishes converge, you would require an all-water license. With this license, you are free to catch any game fishes that are allowed up to the permitted storage

Who Needs A Fishing License On The Boat?

When you are on a boat for recreational fishing with family or friends, the people who are engaging in the act of fishing or even assisting a little will require a license.

If you are just holding the rod or drawing a line or even helping to store the fish, you must have a license with you. But if you are just in the boat, without doing any activities related to fishing you won’t require a license. 

Again, as described in the licensed requirement section, if you are under the age of 16  or above the age of 65, you won’t require a fishing license on the boat.

You can either choose to help or fish, or do nothing related to fishing. But it is best to carry proof of age when you are boarding the boat. In that way, you can prove your age to the authorities and will not fall into any problems with the law.

Now, a little complication might arise when you are on a boat that is being used for fishing. Fishing requires a lot of equipment and gear. And it is very hard to determine if you have assisted the anglers in any way during the fishing trips.

It will be really hard to prove if you were really sitting idle during the whole trip. For example, if the boat contains multiple fishing rods, it will be hard to convince the authority that you didn’t participate in the fishing.

In such cases, it is best to carry a fishing license with you. It will help you with complicated situations. Because such incidents can easily ruin the boat trip for you.

Also one of the biggest advantages of having a fishing license when you are riding on the boat is that you can help to store the fish or hold a rod. It will help a lot if manpower is required. It surely makes the whole trip enjoyable and you won’t have to get into any problems with the authority.

Do You Require A Fishing License When Fishing On A Private Property?

The law of requiring a fishing license while fishing on private property is different according to different states. 

In most states, it is permissible to fish on your private property without requiring a license. As long as the pond or the water body is not connected to any river or streams, you can fish in the pond if you are the owner of it or you have the permission of the owner. However, if a river or lake that is open to the public flows on your property, you will require a license.

Even though it is permissible in most states to fish in your private waters there might be some conditions regarding it. For example, you might have to have a required amount of land area or you will have to license the water body to fish on it. If you own private property on a public water body, you will require a fishing license to fish on it. You will also need a permit if your waterbody is connected to any public waterbody.

The states which don’t allow you to fish on your own property without a fishing license are Alaska, Arkansan, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, and North Dakota. So other than these 10 states, the rest of the states will let you fish on your private property. Although there might be a few conditions that will vary from state to state.

Safety Measures On Boats

Accidents are very common when you are fishing on a waterbody. It is very important to be safe, and also keep the children safe when you are going on to fish on a boat. Here are some safety measures you must take when you are fishing on a boat:

  1. Always check the weather and only sail if it is safe to take the boat out.
  2. Always wear a life jacket. 
  3. Check your boat’s battery and engines before you sail.
  4. Always keep an eye on the children and don’t let them get to the edge of the boat alone.
  5. Always inform people where you are going.
  6. Keep a map with you for navigation.
  7. Do not drink while riding the boat.
  8. Never overspend, and follow the local speed limits.

Always follow the boat and fishing regulations that are in place and call the authority for updates and more information.