Official Online Boating Safety Courses and Exams

Take an approved online boating course to safely and responsibly operate your boat or personal watercraft.

Boaters safety course education card

Completing a Boating Safety Course Is Easy

  1. Choose Your Course

    Choose your course and register for free. Boat Ed is the only boat safety course provider that develops print materials on behalf of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. We collaborated with boating safety agencies in Canada and more than 40 states to develop approved and recognized online boaters courses for North American vessel operators.

  2. Take the Online Course

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

  3. Get on the Water!

    After you pass your boat safety course, you'll be one step closer to taking your boat or PWC out 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 a Boater Safety Course 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.

Boaters safety 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 education card in the mail.

  • Boat ramp etiquette illustration

    Comprehensive content makes Boat Ed courses ideal for everyone.

  • Boating safety procedures illustration

    Familiarize yourself with important safety procedures.

  • Water sports illustration

    Boating courses are for all types of boaters.

Do I need to take a boaters course or get a boating license before getting on the water?

Educated boaters are safer boaters. At some point, you’ve probably been told that you’ll 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 boaters safety course, and it allows you to operate your boat or PWC legally and safely. A boater education card is not considered to be a license since it doesn't expire or need renewal.

After successfully completing an online boating course with Boat Ed, you will receive your education card and can get on the water. Because each boating safety course provides information about boating laws and regulations specific to that state, visit your state’s approved boaters course to find out if you need an education card before you can take your boat or PWC out on the water. With minimal time and effort on your behalf, you can complete a boat safety course at boat-ed.com that is approved by the agency responsible for boating safety in your state or province.

Boat Ed’s easy-to-understand courses mean that you can complete an online boater safety course at your own pace and on any device—regardless of whether that device is a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, or a desktop computer. That’s because all courses are mobile-ready. Completing an approved online boating course with Boat Ed can be fast, easy, and entirely at your convenience.

Why is it important for me to take a boat safety course?

More than 40 states have educational requirements that must be successfully finished before you can receive your card and legally operate your recreational vessel on state waters. Law enforcement officers and boater safety agencies enforce any boater safety course 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 boating safety course, and carry your education card on board your vessel in case an enforcement officer asks to inspect it.

Your state may not require boaters to receive proof that they have successfully completed a boaters safety course before taking to the water. However, boater education can still save lives and reduce the number of accidents that could occur on the water during any given boating adventure. Boat Ed’s approved safety content, live-action videos, and up-to-date animations and illustrations will help you learn about responsible boat operation and the rules of the waterways. By taking an online boating course and earning your education card, you can keep yourself and your passengers safe on any and all boating adventures.

What if I want to take a boat safety course but I don’t live in the U.S.?

Boat Ed’s safety education materials and boaters courses have been developed in conjunction with industry experts and boating safety agencies throughout the United States. State courses are recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard and are 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 across 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 use Boat Ed to take my online boating course?

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 boater safety 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.