Illinois Boating Laws and Regulations
Age and Operator Restrictions
Persons age 10-11 may operate a vessel powered by a motor of more than 10 hp only if they are under the direct on‐board supervision of a person over 18 who has an Boating Safety Certificate.
Persons age 12-17 may operate a vessel powered by a motor of more than 10 hp only if they have an Boating Safety Certificate or are under the direct on‐board supervision of a person over 18 who has an Boating Safety Certificate.
Supervising persons born on or after January 1, 1998, must have a valid Boating Safety Certificate.
Illinois 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.
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 Illinois–approved online boating course to complete your boaters safety education. Boat-ed.com is a delegated provider for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.Lifetime Card Get Certified
unlimited exam attempts
We’re people, not robots.
Visit our Boat Ed help center for frequently asked questions, troubleshooting, or for further customer support!