Official Boater Safety Education Course

Take this Iowa state–approved online course, print your temporary certificate, and be on the water in just a few hours.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources, US Coast Guard, and NASBLA logos Approved by Iowa Department of Natural Resources http://www.iowadnr.gov

Iowa Boater License

Who Needs the Card?

Persons 12 to 17 years old who operate a motorized vessel over 10 hp in Iowa

Get your Iowa Boater Education Certificate in 3 steps.

  1. Study and Pass the Iowa Boater Safety Course

    Study the free online course material. After completing the course, you’ll take the Iowa Certification Exam. (You have 2 attempts to pass the Certification Exam. If you fail the final attempt, you will be required restart the course.)

  2. Pay and Print Your Temporary Certificate

    After passing and paying the $29.50 course fee, you’ll instantly print out a temporary certificate, which is your temporary operating permit, and purchase your required lifetime card for a $5.00 state fee.

  3. Receive Your Boater Education Card in the Mail

    Your lifetime Iowa Boater Education Certificate will arrive by mail in 3-4 weeks. (Use your Boater Education Certificate to get on the water immediately after passing the course and until your permanent card arrives.)

    Ready? Start the Course Today →

What to Expect When Taking the Course

Learning: Step by Step

To help you improve your boating skills and to prepare you for the Certification Exam, the course is broken down into 6 easy-to-understand units that you can complete at your own pace:

  • Unit 1: Before Getting Underway
  • Unit 2: Getting Out on the Water
  • Unit 3: Navigation and Safe Operation
  • Unit 4: Iowa's Legal Requirements of Boating
  • Unit 5: Boating Emergencies
  • Unit 6: Enjoying Water Sports

Reinforcement: Unit Quizzes

As you progress through the course, you’ll be given the opportunity to demonstrate how well you’re understanding the boater safety topics by taking a quiz at the end of each of the 6 units.

You’ll need to score 80% or greater on the unit quiz before moving on to the next unit.

If you don’t pass a unit quiz, that’s no problem. You’ll just go back and study the unit again until you’re ready to pass.

Mastery: The Certification Exam

After completing all units, you’ll have the choice to proceed directly to the Certification Exam or you may first take a practice exam.

Both the practice exam and the Certification Exam cover all the course material and will assess your knowledge of boating safely on Iowa waters.

You must score 80% or greater on the Certification Exam to pass. You have 2 attempts to pass the Certification Exam. If you fail the final attempt, you will be required to restart the course.

  • Boat ramp etiquette
    Illustration from Unit 2: Getting Out on the Water
  • Boating safety tips
    Illustration from Unit 5: Boating Emergencies
  • Local regulations
    Illustration from Unit 6: Enjoying Water Sports

A Comprehensive Course in Iowa Boating Education

Developed Specifically for Iowa Boaters

Boating Basics Instruction

The Boat Iowa Course features easy-to-understand boating safety instructions and hundreds of detailed illustrations to help you improve your boating skills and become a better, more prepared skipper.

This online boating safety course is based on Boat Iowa - A Course on Responsible Boating, which was developed and printed by Boat Ed specifically for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for use in classroom instruction.

Boat Ed is the only boating safety education course and exam provider that develops print materials on behalf of state government boating and boater safety agencies.

  • Iowa Specific Safety Topics This boater safety course is based on the Boat Iowa - A Course on Responsible Boating manual.
  • Boating safety education has proven to be successful in reducing boating accidents, injuries, and conflicts among boaters Boat Ed is the only boating safety course provider that develops print materials on behalf of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Comprehensive Boater Education Content

This Iowa boater education course covers a range of topics—from safety instructions to boat handling to reading the weather—and prepares you for a variety of situations you could find yourself in while on the water.

Boaters can keep themselves and their passengers safe by learning about responsible boat operation, etiquette, and the rules of the water.

Because educated boaters are safer boaters, completing this Iowa-approved online course can also earn you a discount on your boat and PWC insurance.

  • Figure from Unit 4 - Preparing Your Anchor Learn the rules of the water to have a safe and enjoyable day boating in Iowa.
  • Figure from Unit 3 - Penalties for Operating Under the Influence
    Free boat safety exam training material recognized by Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Video Instruction

The Iowa online boater education study guide and course feature context-based video instruction to enhance your retention and motivation. You will watch live-action videos of boat and PWC operators preparing for an outing, using good judgement, and reacting to unexpected changes.

  • Casting Off video thumbnail Sample course instructional video, “Casting Off”
  • Capsizing, Swamping, or Falling Overboard video thumbnail Sample course instructional video, “Capsizing, Swamping, or Falling Overboard”

Interactive Animations

Learning in this Iowa boater safety course is reinforced by the use of interactive animations that help students understand safe boating skills such as understanding traffic laws on the water, dealing with emergencies, and more.

  • Learning to Tie Nautical Knots animation thumbnail Sample course instructional animation, “Tying Knots”
  • Personal Watercraft Overtaking Sample course instructional animation, “Personal Watercraft Overtaking”

It’s Official and Approved!

This online boater education course is approved by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard as an approved online boating license course.

It’s the Law!

Iowa law enforcement officers patrol the waterways to make your boating experience safe and pleasant. Cooperate with them by following the Iowa boating laws and guidelines in this course.

It’s Fast and Easy!

With this complete boater course, finish your classroom boating safety educational requirement at your own pace on your mobile device or computer in a just a few hours. Complete the course in one sitting or a little at a time. It’s up to you.

It’s Made in the USA!

This Iowa boat license safety course is proudly made in Dallas, Texas, USA, and our servers and data storage facilities are located within the USA.

How do I get my state boating license?

You may have heard that you need the Iowa Boat License to operate your boat, but what you really need is the Iowa Boater Education Certificate. You can get the Iowa Boater Education Certificate by taking this Boat License Safety course at boat-ed.com. Find out if you need the card.

Did you lose your card? Replace it here.

Got the Card? Get the Handbook

The Handbook of Iowa Boating Laws and Responsibilities, developed for Iowa Department of Natural Resources and available online only at boat-ed.com

For New and Experienced Iowa Boaters

Approved by:

Iowa Department of Natural Resources
502 E. 9th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319-0034
515-281-5918
http://www.iowadnr.gov