Colorado Boating Laws and Regulations

Do you need Colorado Boating education?


You need education if you are 14 or 15 years old and will be operating a motorized vessel in Colorado.

You must be at least 16 years old to take this online course.

You do not have to be a resident of Colorado to take this online course.


Boating education is currently required in several U.S. states and Canadian provinces.

Age and Operator Restrictions

To operate a vessel on Colorado’s public waters, a person:

  • Under 14 years of age may not operate any motorboat or personal watercraft on Colorado’s public waters.
  • 14 or 15 years of age may operate a motorboat or personal watercraft on Colorado’s public waters only if he or she has passed an approved boating safety course and has a Colorado Boating Safety Certificate issued by the boating safety course provider.

A person 16 years of age or older may operate a motorboat or personal watercraft on Colorado’s public waters.

Boater Education Exams

With regard to boat safety education courses, a person:

  • Must be 14 years of age to take a proctored exam in a classroom setting and get the state-issued Colorado Boating Safety Certificate.
  • Must be 16 years of age to take the online boat safety exam and get a boater education card.


Colorado law enforcement officers patrol the waterways to make your boating experience safe and pleasant. Cooperate with them by following the laws and guidelines.

Carry the Card: Vessel operators who are required to have a Boater Education Card must carry the card on board the vessel and have it available for inspection by an enforcement officer.

Penalty: Not carrying your Boater Education Card when one is required can result in a fine.

Is the Boating Card the same as the Boating License?

The Colorado Boating Safety Certificate is proof that you have successfully completed all of the components of an approved Boating safety course and allows you to go boating. Because the Boating education card or certificate does not expire and does not need to be renewed, it is not called the Colorado Boating License.

Even if not required by law to get the Colorado boating education card, many boaters take the boat safety course in order to save on their PWC or boat insurance.

Do your part to make boating in Colorado an enjoyable pastime! Become an educated, responsible boater by completing the Boat Colorado course, and practice what you learn.


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

Get Certified Online!

Take this Colorado–approved course to complete your online Boating safety education.

Colorado Boating safety education card Lifetime Card

unlimited exam attempts

Need help? Here are the answers to the questions Colorado Boating students most frequently ask.

Frequently Asked Questions