Approved Boater License Safety Courses

Take an approved online course to safely and responsibly operate your recreational vessel or PWC.

Boaters license safety course boater education card

Completing Your Boating Safety Education Is Easy

  1. Choose Your Course

    Choose your course and register for free. Boat Ed is the only boaters license safety course provider that develops print materials on behalf of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Additionally, we’ve worked with boating safety agencies in Canada and over 40 states to develop our official online boating safety courses.

  2. Take the Online Course

    Complete the online course on your smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. Boat Ed courses on any device, and we’ve made the approved curriculum fun and easy. Learning boating safety has never been so easy!

  3. Get on the Water!

    After you pass the online course, you'll be one step closer to getting right on the water. When all education requirements have been successfully completed, you will receive your lifetime boater education card or certificate in the mail.

    Ready? Find Your Course

How the Typical Boater Safety Course Works

Learning: Boating Safety

To help you become a better informed and safer boat operator, each course is broken down into 6 easy-to-understand units that you can complete at your own pace.

Course topics include safe vessel operation, etiquette, boating emergencies, and the legal requirements of boating.

Assessment: Unit Quizzes

As you go through the course, you’ll take a quiz at the end of each unit to determine how well you’re understanding the boating safety topics.

Each unit quiz requires a passing score before you’re allowed to go on to the next unit. If you don’t pass a unit quiz, don’t worry. You’ll just go back and study the unit and then try the quiz again.

Mastery: Course Completion

When you complete all units, you’ll then move on to the final steps in the certification process as mandated by your state or province. In most cases, the final step is a final exam covering all the course material.

After you have successfully completed all education, you will receive your permanent boater education card in the mail.

  • Boat ramp etiquette illustration

    Comprehensive content includes boat ramp etiquette.

  • Boating safety procedures illustration

    Familiarize yourself with important safety procedures.

  • Water sports illustration

    Boating licence courses are for all types of boaters.

How do I get my boater license?

You may have heard that you need a Boaters Licence to operate your boat or personal watercraft (PWC), but what you really need is a boater education certificate. A boater education card or certificate serves as proof that you have successfully completed an approved boating safety education course. Since a boater education card or certificate never expires and will never need to be renewed, it is not called a boaters license.

You can get a boater education certificate by taking a boat safety course with Boat Ed. Each boater license course has boating laws and regulations specific to that state, so you need to visit your state’s approved course to find out if you need an education card to legally get on the water.

All you really need to operate safely and legally on state and federal waters is boating safety education. To get on the water as soon as possible, complete a boater licence safety course at with minimal time and effort, as well as the assurance that you are taking a course approved by the agency responsible for boating safety in your state. With Boat Ed, you can complete an online boating safety course at your own pace and on any device. All courses are mobile-ready, which means that completing boater safety education can be quick, easy, and entirely at your convenience.

Why is boating safety education important?

In the United States alone, more than 40 states require that boaters complete boating safety education before operating a recreational vessel or personal watercraft on state waters. State law enforcement officers and boater safety agencies enforce education requirements to make sure everyone’s nautical experience is both pleasant and safe. Cooperate with them by adhering to the boating laws and regulations found in your state’s approved boater licence safety course, and carry your boater education certificate on board your vessel in case an enforcement officer requests to perform an inspection.

Even if your state does not require boaters to complete a boaters license safety course before taking to the water, boating safety education can both save lives and reduce accidents on the water. Boat Ed’s safety content, live-action videos, and up-to-date animations can help you learn about responsible boat operation and the rules of the waterways. By learning the course content, you can keep yourself and your passengers safe while boating. An educated boater is a safer boater.

What if I don’t live in the U.S., but I want to learn how to boat safely?

Boat Ed resources and educational materials have been developed in conjunction with boating safety experts and state boating safety agencies throughout the United States. State boaters licence courses are recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard and approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).

Boat Ed has also been accredited by Transport Canada to offer a boating safety course and administer tests for the issuance of the Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC), including replacement cards, for Canadian boaters. The Boat Canada course is offered nationwide and has been recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard and NASBLA.

All states, territories, and provinces will recognize boating education cards that meet NASBLA requirements and Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator Cards that meet Transport Canada’s requirements. (This is known as “reciprocity.”)

Why should I take my boater safety course with Boat Ed?

Boat Ed is produced by Kalkomey Enterprises, Inc., a print and online provider of recreational safety education, and is dedicated to providing print and Internet boating education courses and certification across North America. Boat Ed is the only boating safety education course and exam provider that develops online courses, eBooks, and print materials on behalf of government boating and boater safety agencies in North America.

It’s easy to get started! Choose your course and study for free.