How to Get a Boating License or Boating Certificate
A boating safety class can lead to getting your boating license or boating certificate. A boating license or boating certificate may be required, depending on the type of boat you are using, your age, and the state where you are planning to boat. Getting this education benefits skippers and passengers alike, whatever your age. Knowledge about boating safety can reduce accidents, fatalities, and property damage related to recreational boating. Plus, taking a boating safety class and getting your boating license or boating certificate can often provide you with a discount on your boat owner’s insurance.
Help keep boating safe and fun! Check out the list of in-person and online boating safety courses below and get your boating license or boating certificate today! For more information, check out Frequently Asked Questions at the bottom of this page!
In Person Classes
FAQ About Getting a Boating License or Boating Certificate
Why should I get a boating license or boating certificate?
Everyone can benefit from taking a boating safety course and you receive a boating license or boating certificate after you pass the class! Whether you’re an experienced boater or looking to operate a vessel for the very first time, there are countless benefits involved with taking a boating safety class. For inexperienced boaters, you’ll learn necessary skills such as boat operation, communication, navigation and safety techniques. More experienced boaters may learn about regular boat maintenance, docking against the wind or current, and navigation rules. As an added benefit, getting a boating license or boating certificate can help save money on your boat insurance premiums, too.
Do I need to have a boating license or boating certificate in order to operate a vessel?
The quick answer is that all depends on your state’s laws and regulations. Regardless of your state’s laws, it’s a good idea for all boaters to get a boating license or boating certificate to keep up to date and refreshed on important skills and techniques. No matter what your state’s requirements include, boating safety and education have been proven to save lives, and, as boaters, we all have the responsibility to operate our vessels safety and effectively.
What will I learn from a boating safety class to get my boating license or boating certificate?
It may vary from class to class, but most boating safety courses will teach a variety of important skills. You’ll not only be taught basic skills such as boat operation, navigation and etiquette, but you’ll also learn key communications techniques and will be familiarized with state laws and regulations.
Where can I find a boating safety class to take to get my boating license or boating certificate?
Depending on where you live, you have many options when it comes to where and how you can take these classes. For example, our friends at America’s Boating Club offer a number of classes – both online and in-person – where boaters of all ages can learn and freshen up their skills. There is also an online course offered by BoaterExam.com that may spark your interest. Your state boating agency also offers boating safety courses, so check out their schedule as well.
What is the best time to take a boating safety class to get a boating license or boating certificate?
There’s no wrong time to take a boating safety course, but it’s never a bad idea to enroll at the beginning of your area’s boating season. If you’re looking for a less busy time of year, try taking your class over the winter months while your boat is not being used. That way, you’re up-to-date and ready to go by the time you head out to the water for the season’s first cruise.
I am an experienced boater, why should I get a boating license or boating certificate?
In many states, you may be required to have a boating license or boating certificate to operate a boat. It all depends on your age, the type of boat you operate and where you boat. Boating safety classes are beneficial to all types of boaters, no matter your age or experience level. Even the most experienced boaters can learn something new or be reminded about something they may have forgotten. Laws and regulations are constantly changing, so a boating safety class will ensure that you are up to date on all your state’s requirements. Even if you’re sure you know everything, you may be able to save some money on your boat insurance premium by getting a boating license or boating certificate.
I only use Personal Watercraft (PWCs), do I need to take have a boating license or boating certificate?
In some states, a boating license or boating certificate is required for all PWC users or for PWC users of a specific age, so be sure to check your state laws before you leave the dock!
I only use non-motorized boats like canoes, kayaks and stand-up padleboards (SUP). Do I need to take have a boating license or boating certificate?
There are courses aimed specifically for non-motorized boaters. The American Canoe Association offers on-water courses all around the country. And there is a free online paddlesports course offered by BoaterExam as well.
I lost my Boating License or Boating Certificate. Where can I get a copy?
The first step is to go back to the company, organization or agency who issued your boating license or boating certificate. If you can’t remember their name or they are no longer in business, the next step is to contact your state’s boating office to see if they have a copy of your boating license or boating certificate on file. If your paperwork is no longer on file, you may need to take another course and get a new boating license or boating certificate issued.