South Carolina’s Boater Safety Education Program

South Carolina joins more than 40 states with educational requirements for operating a boat or PWC on state waters.

By completing and passing this South Carolina–approved online boating license course, you will have satisfied the educational requirement for South Carolina.

It’s the Law!

Get Safe. Get Certified.

Who Needs the Card?

South Carolina law requires a person under 16 years of age to pass a boating safety course approved by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources or be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years old who is not under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs in order to operate a vessel powered by 15 horsepower or more.

Even if not required by law to get the South Carolina boating license, many boaters take the boat safety course in order to save on their PWC or boat insurance.

Age Restrictions

There is no minimum age to take the online boat safety exam.

Persons 16 years of age or older may operate any boat or PWC without restrictions.

Persons younger than 16 years of age may operate:

  • A boat or PWC powered by less than 15 horsepower without restrictions.
  • A boat or PWC powered by 15 horsepower or more only if:
    • They are accompanied by an adult at least 18 years old who is not under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs or…
    • They have passed a boating safety course approved by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

It is unlawful for a person to cause or allow a child over whom they have permanent or temporary responsibility to operate a boat or PWC illegally.

Reciprocity

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.”)

Enforcement

South 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.dnr.sc.gov.

Quick Links

Is the Boating Card the same as a Boating License?

The South 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 South Carolina Boating License.

South Carolina Boater Education Certificate

How do I get my state boating license?

You may have heard that you need the South Carolina Boat License to operate your boat, but what you really need is the South Carolina Boater Education Certificate. You can get the South 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.

Got the Card? Get the Handbook

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

For New and Experienced South Carolina Boaters

Approved by:

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 167
Columbia, SC 29202
803-737-8483
http://www.dnr.sc.gov