Approved Courses for the Boater Education Card

Take an approved online course to earn your lifetime boaters card.

Boating safety course boaters card

Earning your Boater Card 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 for North American boaters to earn their boaters education card.

  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 so easy!

  3. Get on the Water!

    After you pass the online 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 the Typical Boater Safety Course 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 to get a boat license or a boater education card to operate my boat?

You’ve probably heard that you have to get a boat license to operate your boat or personal watercraft (PWC), but all that you really need is a boaters education card. A boaters card or certificate serves as proof that you have successfully completed an official boating safety course, and 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.

You can get a boater card by taking a boat safety course with Boat Ed. Because each safety course has 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. To legally and safely operate your vessel on state and federal waters, all you need is boater education. With minimal time and effort, you can complete a safety 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—whether that device is a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. All courses are mobile-ready, which means that completing your course can be fast, easy, and entirely at your convenience.

Why should I take a boater education course?

More than 40 U.S. states have educational requirements that must be completed before you can operate a recreational vessel or PWC on state waters. State law enforcement officers and boater safety agencies enforce education requirements to ensure that every boater’s experience on the water is both safe and enjoyable. Cooperate with them by following the boating laws and regulations found in your state’s approved course, and carry your boater card on board your vessel in case an enforcement officer asks to inspect it.

Even if your state does not require boaters to receive a boaters education card before taking to the water, safety education can save lives and reduce accidents on the water. Boat Ed’s safety content, live-action videos, illustrations, and up-to-date animations can help you learn about responsible boat operation and the rules of the waterways. By taking a course and earning your boaters card, you can successfully keep yourself and your passengers safe while boating. An educated boater is a safer boater.

What if I want to learn how to boat safely, but don’t live in the U.S.?

Boat Ed educational materials and courses have been developed in conjunction with boating safety experts and state 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 nationwide 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 take my boating safety course 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.