Florida Boating Laws and Regulations
You need boater education if you were born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, and will be operating a motorized boat of 10 hp or more in Florida.
There is no minimum age requirement to take this online course.
You do not have to be a resident of Florida to take this online course.
Boating education is currently required in several U.S. states and Canadian provinces.
Operators are exempt from needing to get the license if they are:
- Licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard as a master of a vessel
- Operating on a private lake or pond
- Accompanied on board by a person who is exempt from the education requirement or by a person who is at least 18 years old, possesses the required identification cards, and is attendant to the operation of the vessel and responsible for any violation that occurs
- Operating a vessel within 90 days after purchase and have a bill of sale on board and available for inspection
Age and Operator Restrictions
- No one under the age of 14 years may operate a personal watercraft (PWC) on Florida waters at any time, even if such person possesses a Florida Boating Safety Education I.D. Card.
- No one under the age of 18 years may rent/lease a PWC.
- It is also illegal for the owner of a PWC to knowingly allow a person under 14 years of age to operate a PWC.
The law requires that persons affected by this legislation have in their possession a Florida Boating Safety Education I.D. Card issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and photographic ID while operating a vessel.
Florida 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 Florida Boating Safety Education I.D. Card 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 Florida Boating License.
Even if not required by law to get the Florida 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 Florida an enjoyable pastime! Become an educated, responsible boater by completing the Boat Florida 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 Florida Boating students most frequently ask.Frequently Asked Questions