The rewards of studying or doing research on Lake Champlain or other waterways are multifaceted, as are the risks.  Of primary concern are:

  • Boating safety requirements for small motor-driven vessels 
  • Canoe and kayak safety
  • Personal floatation device usage
  • Prevention of slips/falls
  • Heat exhaustion or hypothermia
  • Exposure to pathogens in water

UVM requires anyone operating a small watercraft, like a motor boat, complete the Vermont State Police approved on-line training (see link Quick Links). You must also carry a Boat Safety Certification Card at all times while operating small, motorized boats.  Even though this State requirement pertains to people born on or after January 1, 1974, UVM asks that all operators follow this requirement for reasons of safety and liability.

UVM Small Boat Safety Manual

For more information regarding safely using the University's small boats, please read the UVM Small Boat Safety Manual (DOC).

Operating a Motorized Boat or Small Watercraft

Operators of any motorized, small watercraft, are required to get a Boating Safety Certification prior to operation of any UVM vessel.  Payment of this class is and individual and/or department responsibility.

Paddling Safety & Instruction

American Canoe Association is an organization that has many online courses for paddling ranging from beginning instruction to safety and rescue techniques.

Although hands-on experience is an essential part of any successful paddling instruction, the materials in these online courses can be used to underpin and supplement in-person instruction as it is available to you and/or your group.

Boat Safety Certificate (online) Course

Anyone who is required to operate a motorized, small watercraft, is required to complete Boating Safety Certificate Course for Vermont  PRIOR TO operating any UVM vessel.

The fee for this class is the responsibility of the individual and/or department.  

Upon completion of the class, you will receive a boater education card. A copy of the operator's boater education card must be kept on file with the department that assigns the task of operating a watercraft.

Departments may be asked to show proof of completion of the Vermont State Police-Approved Boater Education Course for a UVM affilliate at any time. Departments should keep a copy of any individual in their department who has a Boater Education Certification Card. For more information, email