Kentucky Boating Laws and Regulations

Do you need Kentucky Boating education?


You need education if you are 12 to 17 years old, are unaccompanied, and will be operating a motorized vessel over 10 hp in Kentucky.

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

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


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

Age and Operator Restrictions

A person must be 12 years or older to operate a motorboat (including PWC) 10 hp or over on Kentucky public waters.

Operators 12 to 17 years of age may legally operate a motorized vessel over 10 horsepower (including personal watercraft) only if they:

  • Have passed an approved boating safety course and carry on board their boater education certificate or…
  • Are accompanied on board by a person 18 years old or older or by a person who possesses a boater education card.


Kentucky 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 Kentucky 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 Kentucky Boating License.

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

Frequently Asked Questions