Ocean City, a beloved beach town on Maryland's Atlantic coast, is a popular spot for boating enthusiasts. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) enforces strict boating regulations, covering boat registration, safety equipment, and operator licensing. GetMyBoat operators must fully comply with these rules, including obtaining the necessary permits, meeting vessel and captain requirements, and following local laws and facility regulations. Here are some key details for boating in Ocean City, MD.

Boat Registration:

All boats with engines or sails exceeding 30 square feet must undergo registration with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The registration is valid for one year and necessitates annual renewal, along with a registration fee that varies depending on the boat's type and size. You can complete the registration process online, by mail, or in person at a DNR service center. For additional information visit the DNR website.

Boating safety certificate:

To operate a motorized vessel on Maryland waters, individuals born on or after July 1, 1972, are required to possess a boating safety certificate, which can be obtained by successfully completing an authorized boating safety course.


In OCMD, it's crucial to obtain the necessary liability insurance coverage when operating a for-hire boat. This insurance is essential for passenger safety, protecting your business, and adhering to legal requirements. For additional information about the required insurance, we suggest contacting our associated partner, BCI.

USCG Captains License:

In Ocean City, individuals operating passenger vessels for hire, such as charter boats, tour boats, and water taxis, must hold a captain's license. The most popular license is known as the Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels (OUPV) license. More information can be obtained by visiting our partner, Mariners Learning System. Apply the code GETMYBOAT10 to enjoy a 10% discount.

Passenger Pick Up/ Drop Off:

Several places allow boat drop-offs and pickups for rentals, and here are a couple with designated passenger zones. Before finalizing your plans, be sure to verify the pickup and drop-off policies with the marina or dock.

  • White Marlin Marina: located at 205 Somerset St, Ocean City, MD 21842.
  • Sunset Marina: located at 12911 Sunset Ave, Ocean City, MD 21842.

Essential Permits:

Depending on the services provided, for-hire vessels may require a commercial boating permit from the MDNR, and owners of these boats will also need a business license from Ocean City. If you have questions about obtaining these permits and licenses don't hesitate to contact the Town of Ocean City at (410) 289-8221.

Additional Information:

  • Speed limits are enforced on numerous waterways in Maryland, which includes a 6-knot speed restriction within 100 yards of the shoreline in the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Within 100 yards of the shore in Ocean City, no-wake zones are in effect.
  • Make sure to acquaint yourself with the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.
  • Water skiing and tubing are not allowed within 300 feet of the shoreline and in the Ocean City Inlet.
  • Every recreational boat must have one wearable life jacket approved for the activity for each individual on board. Additionally, any boat measuring 16 feet or longer (excluding canoes and kayaks) must carry one throwable life jacket of Type IV.
  • Operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law.
  • There are restrictions on anchoring in specific areas, such as designated swimming zones and boat channels.
  • Public Boat Ramps: Ocean City has two public boat ramps Caribbean Drive Boat Ramp and Northside Park Boat Ramp. Both ramps require a pass card to use

If you have any questions about Maryland boating regulations, you can contact the MDNR at (410) 260-8300.