Georgia Boating Laws and Regulations

Do you need Georgia Boating education?


You need education if you were born after Jan. 1, 1998, and will be operating a motorized vessel in Georgia.

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

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


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

Age and Operator Restrictions

Persons under 12 years of age:

  • May not legally operate a PWC or any vessel 16 feet in length or longer.
  • May legally operate a boat less than 16 feet in length and powered by a motor of 30 horsepower or less only if they are accompanied by a competent adult.

Persons 12 to 15 years of age:

  • May not legally operate any vessel 16 feet in length or longer.
  • May legally operate a PWC or vessel less than 16 feet in length if they:
    • Have passed a boating education course approved by the DNR or…
    • Are accompanied by a competent adult.

Persons 16 years of age or older may legally operate any boat or PWC on Georgia state waters if they have a proper identification card, such as a driver's license (or legible copy) or any other government-issued identification that contains a description of the person, a photograph, and the date of birth, on board.


Georgia 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 Georgia 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 Georgia Boating License.

Even if not required by law to get the Georgia 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 Georgia an enjoyable pastime! Become an educated, responsible boater by completing the Boat Georgia 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 Georgia Boating students most frequently ask.

Frequently Asked Questions