Getting a boat license is pretty easy in some cases, but someone must know the details. There’s a wide variety of boating licenses, from single-person canoes to large commercial vessels.

As one might expect, getting a boating license will vary depending on the size of the boat. However, some commonalities apply across the board. A few states require a boating license only if a person wants to drive a PWC, while others require one to operate any vessel with a motor of more than ten horsepower.


Find Out About the Boater Requirements

Research the boater education requirements for your state. Most states require a boating safety course before getting a license, and it’s generally easier to take the course before earning a license.

Boating safety courses are available online and in-person and may be taught by certified lifeguards, former military or police officers, or other professionals with experience on the water. The American Boating Association recommends taking the course to learn safe boating practices and how to operate a boat safely if someone navigates in an emergency.


Take a Test

An individual may need to pass an examination or complete an education course. Tests typically cover safe boat handling, navigation rules and regulations, and emergency preparedness. The good news is that someone can pass the test and hit the water in no time with the proper preparation.

They’re offered at marinas, boat dealerships, and boating supply stores. The test consists of 50 questions, and a person must get a minimum score of 80% to pass. Each question has four possible answers, only one of which is correct.


Payment After Finishing the Course

After the course is completed, a certificate of course completion must be obtained from the instructor. This course completion certificate will serve as one’s license until the person submits payment to the DMV with the required documents and fees.


Have the Certificate at All Times

After passing the boat license or completion certificate, a person gets a copy of the certificate. Keep it near when on the water, especially if planning to take passengers along.

This way, in case of an accident or other emergency, first responders will know that you’re capable of handling a boat. Also, it is the only way law enforcement officials will differentiate between those who have a license and those who don’t.