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How To Get a Boaters License by State

How To Get a Boaters License by State

Prestige Yacht

For most boaters, the first step towards owning a boat or personal watercraft of their own is to obtain a boaters license. While every state has different requirements or jurisdiction for operating powerboats, sails, and PWC, most require some sort of educational course or certificate of completion. Obtaining your license or certificate can usually be done online or by attending in-person sessions. As a boater, we all have a responsibility to understand boat operation, communications, navigation, and specific know-how to prevent accidents before hitting the water. Take a look at the steps below for completing boaters education.

Steps To Obtain a Boaters License

    Step 1. Research requirements by state. View a complete list of states and their requirements here. In Florida, all boaters born on or after January 1, 1988, who operate any motorized watercraft of 10 HP or more, need a Florida Boater Education ID Card.

    Step 2. After clicking on your state of residents, complete the online course or in-person sessions recommended for obtaining your license.

    Step 3. Pay the fee for the course, which usually ranges from $30-60.

    Step 4. Each course will typically cover boating basics, terminology, navigation rules, state boating regulations, and knowledge of handling emergencies. Successfully pass the exam at the end of your boating education course.

    Step 5. Once you complete your education, keep your boaters license or completion certificate whenever you head out to the water.


Frequently Asked Boater License Questions [FAQ]

What state requires a boating license?

Each state regulates boating education and licensing requirements and varies by state. Some states require all boaters to have a license or certificate, while others have age limits for licensing. View regulations by state here.

Is a boating license accepted in all states?

Some states recognize boating licenses or certificates issued by other states; however, it is the boat owner’s responsibility to know the boating license requirements for the state where they are operating their boat.

How old do I need to be to get a boaters license?

Boating education requirements differ widely by state. For example, in Kansas, all boaters between the ages of 12 and 20 years must have a Kansas Boater Education Card to operate any motorized watercraft or sailboat. It is a boater’s responsibility to research state regulations and requirements.

Do you need a boating license to rent a boat?

The same goes for renting a boat as owning a boat; each state regulates boating education and licensing requirements. Some states require all boaters to have a license or certificate, while others have age limits for licensing.

How long does a boater’s education course take?

Typically, most courses average around three hours. This time frame does not account for exams or studying time.

How much does it cost to get a boaters license? 
Most courses range from $30- $60.

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Cited: Discover Boating

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