Boat License

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Adding a boat to your vehicle collection is an exciting time for any motorist. But depending on where you live and plan to operate your new boat, you may be required by local law to obtain a boat license before you can head out on the water. In fact, there is a good chance that your boat must be registered in your state as well. To help you along in the boat licensing and registration process, we’ve outlined a few general requirements here.

How to Get a Boat License

It is important to keep in mind that not all states require a boat license or endorsement before you can begin using your boat, so be sure to check with your local DMV and State Marine Board before beginning the process.

Some of the general requirements for a boat license, endorsement, or boater safety card include:

  • Completion of a boater education course
  • Motorists under the age of 16 may be required to carry a Boater Education Card on board the vessel.
  • Underage motorists between the age of 12 to 15 may be required in some states to only operate the boat under the direct supervision of an adult 16 years or older.

Boater Education Course

In many states, completing a boater education course is required instead of obtaining an official boat license. Typically, motorists must complete a boater education course that has been approved by their local State Marine Board, Fish and Game Commission or other recreation commission. During the course, students will learn a variety of boat safety and operation skills that include maintaining their boats. Any legal requirements for boating and how to act in an emergency situation.

These courses may also require a specific amount of classroom time before receiving your certification as well as written and practical examinations. In most cases, once you have received your certification card, renewal is not necessary.

Additional Information

  • While boat insurance may not be required in your state, carrying some form of liability coverage is recommended.
  • Boat registration may be required in your state, so be sure to contact your local DMV for more information.