Alabama’s Boater Safety Education Program

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

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

It’s the Law!

Get Safe. Get Certified.

Who Needs the Card?

An Alabama boater safety certification is required for all persons 12 years of age and older who operate a motorized vessel on Alabama waters. The boating license must be in the operator’s possession at all times while on the water.


The certification is not required for operators who:

  • have a valid U.S. Coast Guard Motorboat Operator's License, or…
  • submit a valid certificate of successful completion of an Alabama Marine Police Division-approved safe boating course, or…
  • were born before April 28, 1954.

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

Age Restrictions

If you are under 12 years of age: You may not obtain your Alabama boater safety certification, and you may not operate a vessel under any circumstances.

If you are 12 or 13 years of age: You may obtain your Alabama boater safety certification. After obtaining the certification, you may operate a vessel legally only if supervised on board by a person who:

  • Is at least 21 years of age and…
  • Carries a valid proof of his or her Alabama boater safety certification and…
  • Is in position to take immediate physical control of the vessel.

If you are 14 years of age or older: After obtaining Alabama boater safety certification, you may operate a vessel without supervision legally.


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.”)


Alabama 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 details about the boater education law, who is exempt from the education requirement, which courses are approved, the Boating License Certification Exam, and the application for the Boater Education Card, visit

Quick Links

Is the Alabama Boating Course Certificate of Completion the same as a Boating License?

The Alabama Boating Course Certificate of Completion is proof that you have successfully completed an approved boating safety course. After passing the course, you’ll take your Alabama Boating Course Certificate of Completion to your Department of Public Safety office to receive your Alabama Boating License.

Alabama Boating Course Certificate of Completion

How do I get my state boating license?

You may have heard that you need the Alabama Boat License to operate your boat, but what you really need is the Alabama Boating Course Certificate of Completion. You can get the Alabama Boating Course Certificate of Completion by taking this Boat License Safety course at Find out if you need the card.

Did you lose your card? Replace it here.

Got the Card? Get the Handbook

Boat Alabama Certification Manual, developed for ALEA Marine Patrol Division and available online only at

For New and Experienced Alabama Boaters

Approved by:

ALEA Marine Patrol Division
Attn: Education Section
PO Box 304115
Montgomery, AL 36130