Approved Safety Courses and Boating License Test

Take an approved online boaters exam to learn how to responsibly operate your recreational vessel.

Boaters license test safety card

Completing Your Course and Boating Exam 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 courses and boat tests for North American boaters.

  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 simple and fun. Learning how to operate your boat or PWC safely has never been so easy!

  3. Get on the Water!

    After you pass the online course and boating license test, 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 Course and Boaters Test Work

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 a boating test 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 is completed with a boaters exam.

  • Boating safety procedures illustration

    Familiarize yourself with important safety procedures.

  • Water sports illustration

    Boating licence courses are for all types of boaters.

Do I need to take a boating exam before I can get on the water?

An educated boater is a safer boater. You’ve likely heard that you need a boat license to operate your boat or personal watercraft (PWC), but what you actually need is a boater education card. Since a boater education card or certificate never expires and does not need to be renewed, it is not called a license. An education card serves as proof that you have successfully completed an official safety course, and that you have passed an approved boaters test. By passing a boating test, you are indicating that you have learned the boating laws and regulations for your state or province.  

To legally and safely operate your vessel on state and federal waters, you need boater education. 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 and if you must pass the boat license test before you can legally take your boat or PWC out on the water. With a minimum of time and effort, you can complete a course and boat test on boat-ed.com that are 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, or desktop computers. All courses are mobile-ready, which means that completing boat education can be fast, easy, and entirely at your convenience.

Why are boating exams important?

More than 40 U.S. states have educational requirements, which include the completion of a boating license test, that must be finished before you can receive your education 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 boaters exam, 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 and boating test 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, boaters license tests, live-action videos, and up-to-date animations will help you learn about responsible boat operation and the rules of the waterways. By passing a course and boaters test 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 U.S., but I still want to learn to boat safely. Should I take a boaters license test?

Boat Ed’s safety education materials, courses, and boating license test have been developed in conjunction with boating safety experts and boating safety agencies throughout the United States. State courses and boat tests 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 throughout 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 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 boaters 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.