Illinois Boating Laws and Regulations

Passing this Boating license course will complete your online safety education for Illinois.

Do you need Illinois Boating education?

Illinois

You need education if you were born on or after Jan. 1, 1998, and will be operating a vessel powered by a motor of more than 10 hp in Illinois.

You must be at least 11 years old to take this online course.

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

Elsewhere

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

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 Illinois 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 Illinois Boating Safety Certificate or are under the direct on‐board supervision of a person over 18 who has an Illinois Boating Safety Certificate.

Supervising persons born on or after January 1, 1998, must have a valid Illinois Boating Safety Certificate.

Enforcement

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.

Is the Boating Card the same as the Boating License?

The Illinois 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 Illinois Boating License.

Even if not required by law to get the Illinois 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 Illinois an enjoyable pastime! Become an educated, responsible boater by completing the Boat Illinois course, and practice what you learn.

Reciprocity

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 Illinois Boating students most frequently ask.

Frequently Asked Questions