Alabama

Boating Safety Certification requirements for Alabama.

Alaska

Boating Safety Certification requirements for Alaska.

Arizona

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Arizona.

Arkansas

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Arkansas.

California

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for California.

Connecticut

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Connecticut

Colorado

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Colorado.

Delaware

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Delaware.

Florida

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Florida.

Georgia

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Georgia.

Idaho

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Idaho.

Hawaii

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Hawaii.

Illinois

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Illinois.

Indiana

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Indiana.

Iowa

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Iowa.

Kansas

Boating Safety Certification requirements for Kansas

Kentucky

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Kentucky.

Louisiana

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Louisiana.

Maine

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Maine.

Maryland

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Maryland.

Michigan

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Michigan.

Massachusetts

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Massachusetts.

Minnesota

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Minnesota.

Mississippi

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Mississippi.

Missouri

Boating safety certification requirements for Missouri

Montana

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Montana.

Nebraska

Boating Safety Certification requirements for Nebraska

Nevada

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Nevada.

New Hampshire

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for New Hampshire.

New Jersey

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for New Jersey.

New Mexico

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for New Mexico.

New York

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for New York.

North Carolina

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for North Carolina.

North Dakota

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for North Dakota.

Ohio

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Ohio.

Oklahoma

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Oklahoma.

Oregon

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Oregon.

Pennsylvania

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Pennsylvania.

Rhode Island

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Rhode Island.

South Carolina

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for South Carolina.

South Dakota

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for South Dakota.

Tennessee

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Tennessee.

Texas

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Texas.

Utah

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Utah.

Vermont

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Vermont.

Virginia

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Virginia.

Washington

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Washington.

West Virginia

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for West Virginia.

Wisconsin

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Wisconsin.

Wyoming

Boating Safety Certification Requirements for Wyoming.

Boating License vs. Boating Certificate

Due to a common misconception, many boaters wonder whether their states require boating licenses. In fact, what you may wind up needing is a boating safety certificate. You probably only need a boating license in two circumstances:

  1. You drive boats commercially (dredging, towing, construction, etc.)
  2. You drive a boat so massive, the government needs you to prove that you can actually control the sucker.

Now, many states around the country do require a boating safety certificate. The main difference between a boating certificate and a boating license is that the certificate is good for life. It does not expire, unlike boating licenses. In addition, certificates are generally easier to get. Many (though not all) boating certificates are available via an online course. To our knowledge, no state currently requires a practical exam for their safety certificate.

The boating certification system is state-run, but currently all states do have reciprocity. That means that a safety certification from any state is valid in any other state (so long as you get it through an approved party). In addition, if you have a Coast Guard motorboat operator’s license, you are exempt from needing a card in most states.

General Rules

  1. If a state requires a boating safety certification, you need to have it aboard while operating a vessel. Similar to a driver’s license, it isn’t enough to just take the course. If the sheriff pulls you over, you need to have your boating certification on you, or you risk a ticket.
  2. Boating Certification requirements are NOT the whole story. Many states require adult supervision, even for kids with a safety certification. Others prohibit the use of certain boats altogether (PWC’s are most commonly prohibited). As a result, even if a state doesn’t require a boating certification, restrictions may still exist, particularly for children.

States

Below, we will describe the boating safety certification requirements in each state.

NOTE: Because ‘boating safety certification” is boring to read over and over and over again, we will mix it up with terms like “safety certification”, “boating certification,” “boating card,” “boating safety card”, and sometimes just “certification”. These all refer to the same thing. If we mean “boating license” we’ll use the term “boating license”.

Alabama

  • Bottom Line: If you were born on or after April 29, 1954, Alabama requires a boat safety certification.
  • Boaters under 12:
    • May not get boating certification or operate vehicle
    • 12-13: they need certification and need to boat with
      • Adult 21 or older who
      • Carries boat certification AND
      • Is in position to take control of the vessel
    • 14: they need certification and may boat up to 45 days per calendar year.
  • Exemptions:
    • Valid U.S. Coast Guard Motorboat Operator’s license
    • Submit a valid certificate of successful completion of an ALEA Marine Police Division–approved safe boating course, or a course offered by U.S. Power Squadrons, or the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Alabama boating safety certification does not expire.

Alaska

  • Bottom Line: Alaska does not require a boating safety certification. 
  • You can take the course anyway to lower your insurance if you wish. There is no minimum age restriction to take the course.
  • Online Course
  • Expiration: N/A The Alaska boating safety certification does not expire.

Arizona

  • Bottom Line: Arizona does not require a boating safety certification. 
  • You can take the course anyway to lower your insurance if you wish.
  • Boaters under 12:
    • They may not operate a motorized vessel over 8HP (including PWC’s) unless there’s an emergency or they are with a boater 18 years-old or older.
  • Online Course: 
  • Expiration: N/A The Arizona boating safety certification does not expire.

Arkansas

  • Bottom Line: If you were born on or after Jan 1, 1986, Arkansas requires a boating certification to operate a motorboat, sailboat, or PWC.
  • Arkansas sets no minimum age to get a safety certification.
  • Boaters under 12:
    • Require certification and the supervision of an adult 18 or older to use a boat with 10HP or more, and an adult 21 or older to operate a PWC.
    • 12-15: They require a boating certification and supervision of an adult 18 or older to operate a PWC.
    • 16 or older: They require certification, but have no other restrictions.
  • Exemptions: None listed (though boaters with valid, current Coast Guard Motorboat Operator’s license are usually exempt).
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Arkansas boating safety certification does not expire.

California

  • Bottom Line: by 2025, California will require a boating safety certification for all boaters. Until then, the requirement depends on your age. 
  • Every year, more boaters need to get the California boating certificate. The years and requirements are as follows:
    • January 1, 2018: Persons 20 years of age or younger
    • January 1, 2019: Persons 25 years of age or younger
    • January 1, 2020: Persons 35 years of age or younger
    • January 1, 2021: Persons 40 years of age or younger
    • January 1, 2022: Persons 45 years of age or younger
    • January 1, 2023: Persons 50 years of age or younger
    • January 1, 2024: Persons 60 years of age or younger
    • January 1, 2025: All persons regardless of age
  • This law applies to any boat with a motor, including sailboats and paddlecraft with engines.
  • Exemptions: None listed (though boaters with valid, current Coast Guard Motorboat Operator’s license are usually exempt).
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The California boating safety certification does not expire.

Colorado

  • Bottom Line: If you’re over the age of 16, Colorado does not require a boating certification
  • Boaters under 14:
    •  are not permitted to drive a motor boat or PWC
  • Boaters 14-15:
    • Need to pass a safety certification course to operate a motor boat or PWC. The course must be proctored (Can’t do it online).
  • Exemptions: None Listed (though boaters with valid, current Coast Guard Motorboat Operator’s license are usually exempt).
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Colorado boating safety certification does not expire.

Connecticut

  • Bottom Line: Connecticut requires a safe boating certificate (SBC) to operate a motorboat or Sailboat over 19.5 feet.
  • Bottom Line Pt. 2. You need a certificate of personal watercraft operation (PWCO) to operate any PWC in Connecticut.
  • Boaters under 16:
    • Require supervision from an Adult who’s had their Safe Boating Certification for 2+ years to operate any motorboat.
  • Boaters under 12
    • Must obtain an SBC or PWCO AND need supervision from an adult who has held the relevant certificate for 2+ years.
  • Exemptions
    • Operating a vessel with 10hp or less on inland water, between one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset (basically just when it’s daytime).
    • A Valid Vessel Operator License issued by the U.S. Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Connecticut boating safety certification does not expire.
  • NEW LAW: If you intend to drive a boat for water Skiers you must obtain a Safe Waterskiing Endorsement in addition to your SBC or PWCO. Persons under age 16 may not operate a vessel for tubing or waterskiing.
  • If you want the full list of Connecticut’s certificate laws, we’ve provided a link.

Delaware

  • Bottom Line: If you were born on or after January 1, 1978, Delaware requires a boating safety certification.
  • Boaters under 14 years of age:
    • Cannot legally operate a PWC.
  • 14 – 16 years old:
    • must have their Boater Safety Education certificate onboard, and operate the boat under the direct, onboard supervision of an adult.
  • Exemptions:
    • Valid U.S. Coast Guard License.
    • Valid Delaware River Captain and Bay Pilot’s License, or equivalent.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Delaware boating safety certification does not expire.

Florida

  • Bottom Line: If you were born after January 1st, 1988, Florida requires a boating safety certificate to operate a vessel of 10HP or more.
  • Exemptions:
    • Boat operators possessing a valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.
    • Operators on a private lake.
    • Operators accompanied by a boat education card holder at least 18 years of age.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Florida boating safety certification does not expire.

Georgia

  • Bottom Line: If you were born on or after January 1, 1998, Georgia requires a boating safety certification to operate a motorboat or PWC.
  • Boaters under 12 years of age:
    • You may not operate any vessel over 16 feet in length.
    • You can only operate a vessel under 16 feet in length without a motor or powered by a motor of less than 30 horsepower if accompanied by an adult.
  • Boaters 12 – 13 years of age:
    • You cannot operate a Class 1, 2 or 3 boat or a Class A boat powered by a motor of more than 30 horsepower.
    • You may operate a Class A non-motorized boat without adult supervision.
    • You may operate a Class A boat powered by a motor less than 30 horsepower and a PWC if you have passed the boat safety education course and are under the direct, onboard supervision of an adult at least 18 years old and holding his/her boat safety education card.
  • Boaters 14 – 15 years of age:
    • You may operate a Class A non-motorized boat without adult supervision.
    • You may operate any boat if you have passed the boating safety course and are under the direct, onboard supervision of an adult.
  • Exemptions: None Listed (though boaters with valid, current Coast Guard Motorboat Operator’s license are usually exempt).
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Georgia boating safety certification does not expire.

Hawaii

  • Bottom Line: Hawaii requires a boating safety certification card to use any boat over 10hp or any PWC.
  • Boaters under 16 years old:
    • They need their safety certification AND they require supervision of an adult 21 or older who has completed a valid safety course.
  • Exemptions:
    • A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in Hawaii.
  • Online Course: https://www.boat-ed.com/hawaii/
  • Expiration: N/A The Hawaii boating safety certification does not expire.

Idaho

  • .Bottom Line: The state government of Idaho does not require any boating education. Several counties have particular age restrictions for boaters, and some may institute their own boating education requirements.
  • You can take the course anyway to help lower your insurance if you wish, or to boat in states that do require certification.
  • Online Course: https://www.boat-ed.com/idaho/
  • Expiration: N/A The Idaho boating safety certification does not expire.

Illinois

  • Bottom Line: If you were born on or after Jan. 1, 1998, Illinois requires a boating education certificate to operate a vessel over 10 HP.
  • Boaters 10-12 years old:
    • Can operate a motorized vessel only under the control of a parent or guardian
  • Boaters between 12 and 18 years of age:
    • Must have their Boating Education Certificate of Competency onboard or operate the boat under the direct, onboard supervision of an adult at least 18 years of age.
  • Exemptions:
    •  Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government
    • A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in Illinois.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Illinois boating safety certification does not expire.

Indiana

  • Bottom Line: If you are 15 or older and do not have an Indiana Driver’s License, Indiana requires a boating safety certificate. That goes for visiting boaters too.
  • Boaters under 15 years old:
    •  May not operate a PWC or motorboat over 10 HP
  • Boaters 15 – 17 years of age
    • Must have their driver’s license or ID stating they have passed a safety course.
  • Exemptions:
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.
    • A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in Indiana.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Indiana boating safety certification does not expire.

Iowa

  • Bottom Line: If you’re 18 or older, Iowa does not require a boating safety certificate.
  • An Iowa boating safety certificate can still save you money on insurance, and will allow you to boat in states that do require boating education.
  • Boaters 12-17 years old:
    • The state boating certification is mandatory if they intend to operate a motorized vessel over 10 hp or a PWC.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Iowa boating safety certification does not expire.

Kansas

  • Bottom Line: If you’re 21 or older, Kansas does not require a boating safety certificate to operate any watercraft. Before then, you need a card.
  • Boaters 12-20 years-old:
  • Require a Boater Education Certificate to operate a PWC, powerboat, or sailboat unaccompanied.
  • Online Course: https://www.boat-ed.com/kansas/
  • Expiration: N/A The Kansas boating safety certification does not expire.

Kentucky

  • Bottom Line: Kentucky does not require a boating safety certification for anyone 18 years or older.
  • Boaters 12-17 years old:
    • Need a safety certification to operate a vessel over 10hp.
  • Online Course: https://www.boat-ed.com/kentucky/
  • Expiration: N/A The Kentucky boating safety certification does not expire.

Louisiana

  • Bottom Line: If you were born after Jan.1, 1984, Louisiana requires a boating safety certification to operate vessels over 10HP.
  • Any boater under 18 years of age:
    • Must have their Boater Education Card onboard, and operate the boat under the direct, onboard supervision of an adult over 18 years old, with their own safety certification.
    • Louisiana prohibits anyone under 16 years old from operating a PWC
  • Exemptions:
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government
    • A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in Louisiana.
  • Online Course: https://www.boat-ed.com/louisiana/
  • Expiration: N/A The Louisiana boating safety certification does not expire.

Maine

  • Bottom Line: If you’re 18 or older, Maine does not require a boating safety certification. If you’re younger than 18, you should have one.
  • A Maine boating safety certificate can still save you money on insurance, and will allow you to boat in states that do require boating education.
  • All boaters under 12 years of age
    • may not operate a motorboat over 10 hp unless under the immediate supervision of a person at least 16 years of age, who has completed an approved safety certification course.
  • No one under 16 years of age may operate a PWC
  • Persons 16 and 17 years of age may operate a PWC only if:
    • They have successfully completed an approved safety education course and carry on board proof of age and course completion OR are accompanied on board by a person 18 years of age or older, who has completed an approved boater education course.
  • Exemptions:
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government
    • A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in Maine.
  • Online Course: https://www.boatus.org/maine/
  • Expiration: N/A The Maine boating safety certification does not expire.

Maryland

  • Bottom Line: If you were born after July 1, 1972, Maryland requires a boating safety certification.
  • All boaters under 16 years of age:
    • May not operate a PWC, even if they do have their safety certification.
  • Exemptions:
    • Boat operators possessing a valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard.
    • A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in Maryland
  • Online Course: https://www.boat-ed.com/maryland/
  • Expiration: N/A The Maryland boating safety certification does not expire.

Massachusetts

  • Bottom Line: Massachusetts does not require a boating safety certification for boaters 16 and older, operating a motor vessel. You must be 18 or older to operate a PWC without restrictions.
  • A Massachusetts boating safety certificate can still save you money on insurance, and will allow you to boat in states that do require boating education.
  • Boaters 12-15 years of age may operate a motorboat on Massachusetts waters only if they:
    • Have passed a state-approved boating education course or…
    • Are accompanied on board and directly supervised by a competent person 18 years of age or older.
  • Boaters under 12 years of age may operate a motorboat on Massachusetts waters only if accompanied on board and directly supervised by a competent person 18 years of age or older.
  • Boaters 16 or 17 years of age may operate a PWC on Massachusetts waters only if they have passed a state-approved boating education course.
  • Persons under 16 years of age may not operate a PWC in Massachusetts waters under any circumstances.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Massachusetts boating safety certification does not expire.

Michigan

  • Bottom Line: If you were born on or after July 1, 1996, Michigan requires a boating safety certification to operate a motor vessel. 
  • Bottom Line Pt. 2: If you were born on or after January 1, 1979, you need a safety certification to operate a PWC in Michigan.
  • Boaters under 12 years of age:
    • May operate a motor vessel under 6HP without restrictions.
    • May operate a vessel between 6HP and 35HP only if:
      • They have gotten their boating safety certificate AND
      • Have direct, on board supervision of someone 16 years of age or older.
    • May not operate a vessel over 35HP under any conditions.
  • Boaters under 14 years of age:
    • May not legally operate a PWC.
  • Boaters 14-15 years of age:
    • May operate a PWC only if:
      • They have obtained their boating safety certificate AND
      • Are under the direct supervision of a parent, guardian, or person at least 21 years of age who is designated by their parent or guardian.
  • Exemptions:
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government
    • A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in Michigan.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Michigan boating safety certification does not expire.

Minnesota

  • Bottom Line: Minnesota does not require a boating safety certificate.
  • A Minnesota boating safety certificate can still save you money on insurance, and will allow you to boat in states that do require boating education.
  • Boaters 12-17 years old:
    • Need a boating certification to operate a vessel over 25HP
  • Boaters 14-17 years old:
    • Need a boating certificate to operate a PWC.
  • Exemptions:
    • A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in Minnesota.
  • Online Course:
    • https://www.boat-ed.com/minnesota/
  • Expiration: N/A The Minnesota boating safety certification does not expire

Mississippi

  • Bottom Line: If you were born after June 30, 1980, Mississippi requires a boating safety certification.
  • Boaters under 12:
    • Require supervision of someone 21 or older, even if they have their safety certification.
  • Exemptions:
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.
    • A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in Mississippi.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Mississippi boating safety certification does not expire.

Missouri

  • Bottom Line: If you were born on or after January 1, 1984, Missouri requires a boating safety certification.
  • Boaters 14-15:
    • Must remain under the supervision of an adult 16 years old or older, who has a boating certification.
  • Exemptions:
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.
    • A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in Missouri
    • Operators renting a motorboat for 30 days or fewer. The boat rental company must instruct such operators on how to operate the boat safely and give them a summary of the boating law.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Missouri boating safety certification does not expire.

Montana

  • Bottom Line: Montana does not require boating safety certification for adults.
  • A Montana boating safety certificate can still save you money on insurance, and will allow you to boat in states that do require boating education.
  • Boaters 13-14:
    • Must get a boating safety certification to operate a PWC or a motorboat over 10HP
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Montana boating safety certification does not expire.

Nebraska

  • Bottom Line: If you were born on or after January 1, 1986, Nebraska requires a boating safety certification.
  • You must 14 years of age or older AND have your safety cert if you wish to operate a motorboat in Nebraska.
  • Exemptions:
    • Reciprocity: A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in Nebraska.
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Nebraska boating safety certification does not expire.

Nevada

  • Bottom Line: If you were born on or after January 1, 1983, Nevada requires a boating safety certification to operate a boat over 15HP
  • Boaters under 14 years of age cannot legally operate a PWC in Nevada.
  • Exemptions:
    • Reciprocity: A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in Nevada.
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Nevada boating safety certification does not expire.

New Hampshire

  • Bottom Line: New Hampshire requires a boating safety certificate for any boater to operate a PWC or motorboat over 25HP.
  • Boaters under 16 years of age must remain under the supervision of someone over 16, who has the New Hampshire boating safety certification.
  • Exemptions:
    • Reciprocity: A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in New Hampshire.
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.
    • A valid commercial boating license issued by the State of New Hampshire.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The New Hampshire boating safety certification does not expire.

New Jersey

  • Bottom Line: New Jersey requires a boating safety certification for all boaters. The boating laws are complex in New Jersey, so make sure you get the correct cert.
  • Boaters under 13 years of age may not operate a motorized vessel in New Jersey.
  • Boaters under age 16 may not operate a PWC in New Jersey.
  • Boaters 13-15 may only operate a motorboat under 10HP if they get a New Jersey Boating Safety Certificate.
  • Exemptions:
    • Reciprocity: A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in New Jersey. It is also required, even for visitors.
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.
  • Online Course:
    • New Jersey requires completion of an in-person exam to obtain your boating safety certificate. You will not receive your New Jersey boating safety certification until you complete the in-person exam with a score of 80% or higher. It appears that you can do your course-work through boat-ed online before taking the in-person exam.
    • https://www.boat-ed.com/newjersey/
  • Expiration: The material that we have seen does not indicate whether the New Jersey boating safety certificate expires. We have reached out to the New Jersey DMV for clarification. In most state, however, the card does not expire.

New Mexico

  • Bottom Line: If you were born on or after January 1, 1989, New Mexico requires a boating safety certification to operate a motorboat or PWC.
  • Boaters under 13 years of age:
    • must have their boating safety certification to operate a motorboat, Sailboat or PWC AND
    • remain under the direct supervision of an adult.
  • Exemptions:
    • Reciprocity: A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in New Mexico.
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.
    • If you’re renting a vessel for 30 days or fewer. The Rental company must give you instructions on safe boat operation and a summary of New Mexico boating law.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The New Mexico boating safety certification does not expire.

New York

  • Bottom Line: If you were born on or after January 1, 1996, New York requires a boating safety certification to operate a motorboat or PWC.
  • Boaters under 10 years of age must be accompanied by an adult with their boating safety certificate if they wish to operate a motorboat.
  • Boaters under 14 years of age may not legally operate a PWC
  • Boaters 14-18
    • must acquire their boating safety certification AND
    • be accompanied by an adult with a boating safety certificate.
  • Exemptions
    • Reciprocity: A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in New York.
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The New York boating safety certification does not expire.

North Carolina

  • Bottom Line: If you were born on or after January 1, 1988, North Carolina requires a boating safety certificate to operate a motorboat over 10 HP or a PWC.
  • Boaters under 14 years of age may not operate a PWC
  • Boaters 14-15 may operate a PWC only if:
    • accompanied by adult 18 or older OR
    • they possess boating safety certification AND a photo ID
  • Boaters 16 and older can operate a PWC only if they have the North Carolina boating safety certificate.
  • Exemptions:
    • Reciprocity: A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in North Carolina.
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The North Carolina boating safety certification does not expire.

North Dakota

  • Bottom Line: North Dakota does not require a boating safety certificate for adults.
  • A North Dakota boating safety certificate can still save you money on insurance, and will allow you to boat in states that do require boating education.
  • Boaters under age 12 may not operate a motorboat or PWC over 10HP unaccompanied by an adult 18 or older.
  • Boaters 12-15 who wish to operate a motorboat or PWC over 10HP must
    • be accompanied by an adult 18 or older OR
    • acquire their North Dakota boating safety certification.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The North Dakota boating safety certification does not expire.

Ohio

  • Bottom Line: if you were born on or after January 1, 1982, Ohio requires a boating safety certificate to operate a boat or PWC over 10HP.
  • Boaters under 12 years of age may not legally operate a PWC.
  • Boaters 12-15 may only operate a PWC if they:
    • have their Ohio boating safety certification AND
    • remain under the direct supervision of an adult, 18 or older.
  • Boater 16 or older may only operate a PWC if they possess their Ohio boating safety certification.
  • Exemptions:
    • Reciprocity: A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in Ohio.
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Ohio boating safety certification does not expire.

Oklahoma

  • Bottom Line: Oklahoma does not require boating safety certification for adults.
  • An Oklahoma boating safety certificate can still save you money on insurance, and will allow you to boat in states that do require boating education.
  • Boaters under 12 years of age may not operate motorboats or PWCs over 10HP or sailboats of 16 feet or longer.
  • Boaters 12-15 must have an Oklahoma boating safety certificate to operate motorboats or PWCs over 10HP and Sailboats of 16 feet or longer.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Oklahoma boating safety certificate does not expire.

Oregon

  • Bottom Line: Oregon requires a boating safety certificate to operate a motorboat over 10HP or a PWC.
  • No one under age 12 can operate a motorboat in Oregon.
  • Exemptions:
    • Reciprocity: A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in Oregon.
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Oregon boating safety certificate does not expire.

Pennsylvania

  • Bottom Line: If you were born on or after January 1, 1982, Pennsylvania requires a boating safety certification to operate a motorboat over 25HP.
  • Bottom Line Pt. 2: Pennsylvania requires a boating safety certification for all PWC operators, regardless of age.
  • Exemptions:
    • Reciprocity: A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid for up to 60 days on Pennsylvania waters.
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Pennsylvania boating safety certification does not expire.

Rhode Island

  • Bottom Line: If you were born on or after January 1, 1986, Rhode Island requires a boating safety certification to operate a motorboat over 10HP.
  • Bottom Line Pt. 2: Rhode Island requires a boating safety certification for all PWC operators, regardless of age.
  • Exemptions:
    • Reciprocity: A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in Rhode Island
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.
    • Persons operating a vessel under training under the supervision of someone 18 years of age or above who is in possession of the Boater Safety Education Certificate.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: The Rhode Island boating safety certification does not expire.

South Carolina

  • Bottom Line: South Carolina does not require boating safety certification for adults, age 16 and older.
  • A South Carolina boating safety certificate can still save you money on insurance, and will allow you to boat in states that do require boating education.
  • Boaters under 16 years of age:
    • Can operate a vessel under 15HP without restrictions.
    • Can operate a PWC or motorboat over 15HP if:
      • accompanied by an adult, 18 or older (who is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol) OR
      • they hold their own South Carolina boating safety certificate.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: The South Carolina boating safety certification does not expire.

South Dakota

  • Bottom Line: South Carolina does not require a boating safety certification for adults.
  • A South Dakota boating safety certificate can still save you money on insurance, and will allow you to boat in states that do require boating education.
  • Boaters under 12 years of age may only operate a vessel over 6hp under direct supervision of an adult, 18 or older.
  • Boaters under age 14 may only operate a PWC under direct supervision of an adult, 18 or older.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The South Dakota boating safety certification does not expire.

Tennessee

  • Bottom Line: If you were born on or after January 1, 1989, Tennessee requires a boating safety certification to operate a motorized vessel of 8.5HP or more.
  • Boaters under age 12 who wish to operate a motorboat over 8.5HP must remain under the direct supervision of an adult, 18 or older, who hold their Tennessee boating safety certification.
  • Boaters 12-18 may operate a vessel independently IF they have their Tennessee boating safety certification.
  • Exemptions:
    • Reciprocity: A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in Tennessee.
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.
  • Online Course:
    • If you were born on or after January 1, 1989, Tennessee requires that you take an in-person exam to receive your boating safety certification.
    • This online course is only for boaters born before January 1, 1989.
  • Expiration: N/A The Tennessee boating safety certification does not expire.

Texas

  • Bottom Line: If you were born on or after September 1, 1993, Texas requires a boating safety certification to operate a motorboat over 15HP, a PWC, or a sailboat over 14 feet long.
  • Boaters under 13 years of age cannot operate a PWC, powerboat over 15HP or sailboat over 14 feet UNLESS supervised by an adult who:
    • is at least 18 years old AND
    • can lawfully operate the boat AND
    • remains aboard the vessel under way.
  • Boaters 13 or older may operate a PWC, motorboat over 15HP and sailboat over 14 feet if they possess their boating safety certification.
  • Exemptions:
    • Reciprocity: A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in Texas.
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.
  • Online Course:
    • https://www.boat-ed.com/texas/
  • Expiration: N/A The Texas boating safety certification does not expire.

Utah

  • Bottom Line: Utah does not require a boating safety certification for adults.
  • The Utah boating safety certificate can still save you money on insurance, and will allow you to boat in states that do require boating education.
  • Boaters 12-15 may operate a PWC IF:
    • They have their Utah boating safety certificate AND
    • remain under the direct supervision of an adult, 18 or older.
  • Boaters 16-17 may operate a PWC without supervision IF they possess their Utah boating safety certificate.
  • Boaters 12-15 require direct supervision to operate a motorized vessel (non-PWC) or sailboat.
  • Boaters 16 and older can operate a motorboat (non-PWC) or sailboat without restriction.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Utah boating safety certification does not expire.

Vermont

  • Bottom Line: If you were born after January 1, 1974, Vermont requires a boating safety certification to operate a PWC or motorboat.
  • Boaters under 12 years of age may not legally operate any motorboat over 6HP.
  • Boaters under age 16 may not legally operate a PWC.
  • Exemptions:
    • Reciprocity: A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in Vermont.
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Vermont boating safety certification does not expire.

Virginia

  • Bottom Line: Virginia requires a boating safety certification to operate a PWC or motorboat over 10HP.
  • Boaters under age 14 cannot operate a PWC in Virginia
  • Boaters 14 or older may operate a PWC in Virginia so long as they have the Virginia boating safety certification.
  • Exemptions:
    • Reciprocity: A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in Virginia.
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Virginia boating safety certification does not expire.

Washington

  • Bottom Line: If you were born on or after January 1, 1955, Washington requires a boating safety certification to operate a motorboat over 15HP or a PWC.
  • Children under age 12 may not operate a motorboat over 15HP
  • Anyone under 14 years of age may not operate a PWC
  • Boaters 12 and up may operate motorboats over 15HP only with a Washington boating safety certification.
  • Exemptions:
    • Reciprocity: A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in Washington.
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.
    • Operators with commercial fishing boats.
    • Operators who are residents of another State or country will not have to show a boater education card for the first 60 days.
    • A person who has purchased a boat will not need to show a boater education card for the first 60 days after the purchase.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Washington boating safety certification does not expire.

West Virginia

  • Bottom Line: If you were born on or after December 31, 1986, West Virginia requires a boating safety certification to operate a PWC or a motorboat.
  • Boaters 12-14 years of age may operate a vessel over 10HP or a PWC IF:
    • they have the West Virginia boating safety certification AND
    • they remain under supervision by an Adult, 18 or older.
  • Exemptions:
    • Reciprocity: A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in West Virginia.
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.
    • Nonresidents of this state and who are visiting the state for 60 days or less in a motorboat or personal watercraft from another state if they fall into the following categories:
      • Is 15 years of age or older;
      • Has obtained a boating safety education certificate from his or her state of residence, which is in accordance with the criteria listed by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.
    • Visitors to the state for 90 days or less in a motorboat or personal watercraft from a country other than the United States.
    • Persons operating motorboats or PWCs for commercial purposes.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The West Virginia boating safety certification does not expire.

Wisconsin

  • Bottom Line: If you were born on or after January 1, 1989, Wisconsin requires a boating safety certification to operate a PWC or a motorboat.
  • Children under age 10 may not operate a motorized vessel, and under age 12 may not operate a PWC in Wisconsin.
  • Boaters 10-11 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to operate a motorized vessel.
  • Boaters 12-15 who wish to operate a motorized vessel must:
    • Possess their Wisconsin boating safety certification OR
    • Operate under the direct supervision of a parent or guardian, 18 or older.
  • Exemptions:
    • Reciprocity: A boating education card from any state that meets NASBLA requirements is valid in Wisconsin.
    • Valid boaters’ license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Wisconsin boating safety certification does not expire.

Wyoming

  • Bottom Line: Wyoming does not require a boating safety certification.
  • The Wyoming boating safety certificate can still save you money on insurance, and will allow you to boat in states that do require boating education.
  • Boaters under 16 years of age may not operate a motorboat or PWC without direct supervision of an adult 18 or older.
  • Online Course:
  • Expiration: N/A The Wyoming boating safety certification does not expire.