District of Columbia Boating Laws and Regulations

Do you need District of Columbia Boating education?

District of Columbia

Everyone in District of Columbia needs education.

There is no minimum age requirement to take this online course.

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


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

Age and Operator Restrictions

No one under 18 years of age may legally operate a vessel over 16 feet in length unless he or she:

  • Has a District of Columbia Boater Education Certificate showing successful completion of a boating safety course approved by the Harbor Master or…
  • Is under the supervision of a person at least 18 years of age who has completed an approved boating safety course successfully.


District of Columbia 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 District of Columbia Boater Education 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 District of Columbia Boating License.

Even if not required by law to get the District of Columbia 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 District of Columbia an enjoyable pastime! Become an educated, responsible boater by completing the Boat District of Columbia 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.”)

Need help? Here are the answers to the questions District of Columbia Boating students most frequently ask.

Frequently Asked Questions