Can You Use Your Boating License in Another State?

Wouldn’t it be awesome if your boater education card or boating license allowed you to boat in your home state as well as states you’re vacationing in?


Good news! If you’ve successfully completed an official boating safety course such as boat-ed or ilearntoboat, your boater education card is welcome in every state that requires mandatory boater education. Plus, your boater education card will never expire, and it doesn’t need to be renewed.

That means when your plans call for vacationing in another state, a boater education card is your passport to operating a boat there. For example, if you have a Virginia boating license and you’re planning to head over to Maryland for a fun weekend on the water, you’re ready to set sail. That’s because the course at is approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories. And one of the organization’s jobs is to maintain national boating education standards to make sure you’re learning the most important information to stay safe.

Remember when you’re operating a boat, make sure you carry your card with you. In states where you must pass a boating safety course, you have to carry the boating certification card with you when you’re boating. You’ll avoid a big hassle if you can present that card to the law enforcement officer if you’re stopped.

If you’re like most people, you’ve got a ton of other cards to keep track of so it’s easy to misplace your boater education card. No problem. Just head over to and select your state. Once you’re at your state’s page, click on the link in the upper right corner that says “Lost Cards.”

That’s where you’ll find your state’s step-by-step instructions for how to replace a lost card.

Now that you know the ropes about your boating license or boater education card, you can focus on fun. Just don’t forget to be safe out there, too.