Lake Minnetonka WEATHER

Rental Watercraft Regulations


In order to operate a rental watercraft business, the operation must meet certain health and safety requirements. We appreciate the businesses who meet the requirements and conduct safe operations for the enjoyment and protection of the public, as well as for those who live on the lake. The following information is a guide if you are looking to start or operate a rental watercraft business; other requirements may apply depending on your specific information. For specific information, please contact the agency referenced for the item.

Currently, watercraft rental without captain services does not require LMCD approval. If captain services are provided, a Watercraft for Hire registration is required. View Watercraft for Hire requirements. Whether or not your business helped arrange a third-party captain, your business may be held liable for damages, penalties, etc. incurred for unlawful operations. The presence of alcohol on an unlicensed charter is also subject to enforcement of state and local laws.

In addition to general state and local watercraft and boating regulations, specific requirements that must be met are outlined in LMCD Code Section 8-2.13 and additionally 8-3.17 for jet skis. A summary of local, county, and state requirements is provided below.

Rental Watercraft General Requirements

  1. Watercraft Equipment and Rules. (LMCD Code 8-2.11) All watercraft operating on the Lake must at all times be in compliance with the equipment requirements of Minnesota Rules, part 6110.1200.
  2. Rental of Watercraft. (LMCD Code 8-2.13) No person shall offer to rent, or rent, a watercraft to another unless the watercraft complies with all of the following:
    • Is not in a broken, rotten, or otherwise hazardous condition;
    • All oars, oarlocks, and paddles are included, or made available for use, and they are free of cracks, splits, and breaks;
    • It has a rear transom that is strongly constructed and capable of standing the stresses imposed by fully reversing the motors attached or to be attached;
    • Is not made of metal or fiberglass, unless it is equipped with air chambers or other buoyancy devices and is capable of sustaining complete buoyancy for capacity load in the event the craft is capsized;
    • It is free of spilled gasoline and oil; and
    • Is equipped with a pair of oars and oarlocks, or with a paddle, in serviceable condition and unless, on departure, there are on board personal flotation devices for each person on board.
  3. Rental to Person Under Influence. No watercraft shall be rented or offered for rent to any person who is under the influence of alcoholic beverages or prohibited drugs.
  4. Overloading. No watercraft which has been rented shall be permitted to depart from the premises at which it was rented if it is loaded beyond its safe carrying capacity or powered beyond its safe power capacity.
  5. Overnight Occupancy. No person shall rent or lease any watercraft for use as living quarters while it is in or upon the Lake. No person shall regularly lease or rent any watercraft for overnight occupancy in or upon the Lake.

Rental of Personal Watercraft (PWCs)- Additional Requirements

LMCD Code 8-3.17. A person who rents a personal watercraft, regardless of the horsepower, to another shall comply with this Section.

  1. Age Restrictions. No person shall rent a personal watercraft to any person who: (a) Is less than 16 years of age; or (b) Is 16 years of age or over, but less than 18 years of age and is not in possession of an operator’s permit required by law.
  2. Information and Instruction. A person who rents a personal watercraft to another is required to provide a summary of the laws and rules governing the operation of personal watercraft and to provide instruction regarding safe operation to any person renting personal watercraft. The instruction provided to a renter must cover the laws and rules governing personal watercraft as well as the actual operation of the personal watercraft itself.
  3. Personal Flotation Devices. A person who rents a personal watercraft to another shall provide a United States Coast Guard approved Type I, II, III or V wearable personal flotation device to all persons who rent a personal watercraft, as well as all other required safety equipment.

Certain State, County, and City Requirements

  1. Watercraft Registration. Watercraft for rent must be registered with the State of Minnesota and decal placed on watercraft accordingly.
  2. Record Keeping. Both personal watercraft dealers and rental operations must keep a signature record of all those who buy or rent personal watercraft. This record is to indicate that the buyer or renter has been provided with a copy of the personal watercraft laws and has read them.
  3. Water Patrol Safety Inspection. (MN Rule 5225.6140) An inspection of the watercraft is required by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol (HCSO) that includes a physical inspection for health and life safety items. A copy of the inspection form provides general information.
  4. Food/Beverage Requirements. The Hennepin County Environmental Services Department may require a license and/or inspection if food or beverages are provided for the customers. Hennepin County Environmental Services Webpage
  5. City Zoning. Applicants should contact the city where the business is located or operated regarding zoning requirements for a business or berth/storage location. In general, conducting business at public transient dock or private facilities may be prohibited unless specifically allowed through an LMCD license and City approval.