North Carolina’s Boater Safety Education Program
North Carolina joins more than 40 states with educational requirements for operating a boat or PWC on state waters.
By completing and passing this North Carolina–approved online boating license course, you will have satisfied the educational requirement for North Carolina.
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It’s the Law!
Get Safe. Get Certified.
Who Needs the Card?
Any person born on or after January 1, 1988, must complete a NASBLA–approved boating safety course before operating a vessel with a motor of 10 hp or greater on North Carolina waters.
Even if not required by law to get the North Carolina boating license, many boaters take the boat safety course in order to save on their PWC or boat insurance.
There is no minimum age to take the online boat safety exam.
Personal Watercraft (PWCs)
A person younger than 14 years old may not operate a PWC legally.
A person 14 or 15 years old may operate a PWC only if:
- He or she is accompanied on board the PWC by a person who is at least 18 years old and who is in compliance with the requirements for operating a vessel or…
- He or she has on his or her person identification showing proof of age and a boating certification card showing proof of passing a boating safety course approved by NASBLA and accepted by the Wildlife Resources Commission or…
- He or she has on his or her person identification showing proof of age and proof of other boating safety education in compliance with state laws.
Anyone 16 years old or older and born on or after January 1, 1988, may operate a PWC with a motor of 10 horsepower or greater only if he or she is in compliance with the requirements for operating a vessel.
Good in U.S. States
All states that have mandatory boater education requirements will accept a North Carolina Boater Education Certificate. Likewise, North Carolina will accept boating education cards that are issued by states that meet NASBLA requirements. (This is known as “reciprocity.”)
North Carolina law enforcement officers patrol the waterways to make your boating experience safe and pleasant. Cooperate with them by following the laws and guidelines.
Carry the Card Vessel operators who are required to have a Boater Education Card must carry the card on board the vessel and have it available for inspection by an enforcement officer.
Penalty Not carrying your Boater Education Card when one is required can result in a fine.
For More Information
For details about the boater education law, who is exempt from the education requirement, which courses are approved, the Certification Exam, and the application for the Boater Education Card, visit http://www.ncwildlife.org.
Is the Boating Card the same as a Boating License?
The North Carolina Boater Education Certificate is proof that you have successfully completed an approved boating safety course. Since the boater education card does not expire and does not need to be renewed, it is not called a North Carolina Boating License.
How do I get my state boating license?
You may have heard that you need the North Carolina Boat License to operate your boat, but what you really need is the North Carolina Boater Education Certificate. You can get the North Carolina 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.
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
1751 Varsity Drive
Raleigh, NC 27606