Alabama Boating Laws and Regulations

Passing this Boating license course will complete your online safety education for Alabama.

Do you need Alabama Boating education?

Alabama

You need education if you are at least 12 years old and will be operating a motorized boat in Alabama.

There is no minimum age requirement to take this online course.

You do not have to be a resident of Alabama to take this online course.

Elsewhere

Boating education is currently required in several U.S. states and Canadian provinces.

Exemptions

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 ALEA Marine Patrol Division–approved safe boating course, or a course offered by U.S. Power Squadrons, or the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or…
  • Were 40 years old or older as of April 28, 1994.

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 and Operator 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 on Alabama waters for up to 45 days per calendar year.

Enforcement

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.

Is the Boating Card the same as the Boating License?

The Alabama Boating Course Certificate of Completion is proof that you have successfully completed all of the components of an approved Boating safety course and allows you to go boating. Because the Boating education card or certificate does not expire and does not need to be renewed, it is not called the Alabama Boating License.

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

Do your part to make boating in Alabama an enjoyable pastime! Become an educated, responsible boater by completing the Boat Alabama course, and practice what you learn.

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.”)

Need help? Here are the answers to the questions Alabama Boating students most frequently ask.

Frequently Asked Questions