Official and Approved Boater Education Courses

Take an approved online course to complete your boater safety education.

Boater ed safety card

Completing Boat Education Is Easy

  1. Choose Your Course

    Choose your course and register for free. Boat Ed is the only safety course provider that develops print materials on behalf of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. We’ve worked with boating safety agencies in Canada and more than 40 states to develop approved and recognized online safety courses so that North American boaters can successfully complete their boat education.

  2. Take the Online Course

    Complete the online course on your smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. It works on any device, and we’ve made the official curriculum fun and easy. Learning how to safely operate your boat or PWC has never been easier!

  3. Get on the Water!

    After you pass your boater ed course, you'll be one step closer to getting right on the water. When all education requirements have been successfully completed, you will receive your lifetime boater education card or certificate in the mail.

    Ready? Find Your Course

How Boater Education Typically Works

Learning: Boating Safety

To help you become a better informed and safer boat operator, each course is broken down into 6 easy-to-understand units that you can complete at your own pace.

Course topics include safe vessel operation, etiquette, boating emergencies, and the legal requirements of boating.

Assessment: Unit Quizzes

As you go through the course, you’ll take a quiz at the end of each unit to determine how well you’re understanding the boating safety topics.

Each unit quiz requires a passing score before you’re allowed to go on to the next unit. If you don’t pass a unit quiz, don’t worry. You’ll just go back and study the unit and then try the quiz again.

Mastery: Course Completion

When you complete all units, you’ll then move on to the final steps in the certification process as mandated by your state or province. In most cases, the final step is an exam covering all the course material.

After you have successfully completed all education, you will receive your permanent boater card in the mail.

  • Boat ramp etiquette illustration

    Comprehensive content prepares you for boating safely.

  • Boating safety procedures illustration

    Familiarize yourself with important safety procedures.

  • Water sports illustration

    Boat Ed's courses are for all types of boaters.

Do I need boaters education or a boating license before getting on the water?

Ultimately, an educated boater is a safer boater. You’ve likely heard that you need a boat license to safely operate your boat or personal watercraft (PWC), but what you really need is a boater education card. An education card serves as proof that you have successfully completed an official boater ed course, and it allows you to operate your boat or PWC. Since a boater education card or certificate never expires and does not need to be renewed, it is not called a license.

To legally and safely operate your vessel on state and federal waters, all you need is boater education. By successfully completing boat education with Boat Ed, you will receive an education card and be ready to get on the water. Because each safety course provides information about boating laws and regulations specific to that state, visit your state’s approved course to find out if you need an education card before you can legally take your boat or PWC out on the water. With minimal time and effort on your behalf, you can complete a boater ed course on boat-ed.com that is officially approved by the agency responsible for boating safety in your state or province.

With Boat Ed’s easy-to-understand courses, you can complete an online boating safety course at your own pace and on any device, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. All courses are mobile-ready, which means that completing boat education can be fast, easy, and entirely at your convenience.

Why should I take a boater ed course?

More than 40 U.S. states have educational requirements that must be completed before you can receive your boater ed card and legally operate your recreational vessel on state waters. Law enforcement officers and boater safety agencies enforce education requirements to make sure that every boater’s experience on the water is both safe and enjoyable. Cooperate with these officials by adhering to the boating laws and regulations you learned about in your state’s approved course, and carry your boaters education card on board your vessel in case an enforcement officer asks to inspect it.

Even if your state does not require boaters to receive proof of successful course completion before taking to the water, boat education can save lives and reduce the number of accidents that could occur while on the water. Boat Ed’s approved safety content, live-action videos, and up-to-date animations will help you learn about responsible boat operation and the rules of the waterways. By taking a course and earning your card, you can successfully keep yourself and your passengers safe on any and all boating adventures.

I don’t live in the United States, but I still want to learn how to boat safely. Should I take a safety course?

Boat Ed’s safety education materials and courses have been developed in conjunction with boating safety experts and boating safety agencies throughout the United States. State courses are recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard and approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).

Boat Ed has also been accredited by Transport Canada to offer a boating safety course and administer tests for the issuance of the Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC), including replacement cards, for Canadian boaters. The Boat Canada course is offered for all of Canada and has been recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard and NASBLA.

All states, territories, and provinces will recognize boater education cards that meet NASBLA requirements and Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator Cards that meet Transport Canada’s requirements. (This is known as “reciprocity.”)

Why should I complete boaters education with Boat Ed?

Boat Ed is produced by Kalkomey Enterprises, Inc., a print and online provider of recreational safety education, and is dedicated to providing print and Internet boating education courses and certification across North America. Boat Ed is the only boating safety education course and exam provider that develops online courses, eBooks, and print materials on behalf of government boating and boater safety agencies in North America.

It’s easy to get started! Choose your course and study for free.