Pennsylvania’s Boater Safety Education Program

Pennsylvania joins more than 40 states with educational requirements for operating a boat or PWC on state waters.

By completing and passing this Pennsylvania–approved online boating license course, you will have satisfied the educational requirement for Pennsylvania.

It’s the Law!

Get Safe. Get Certified.

Who Needs the Card?

Boating safety education certificates are required of the following operators:

  • Persons born on or after January 1, 1982, may not operate boats powered by a motor greater than 25 hp unless they have in their possession a boating safety education certificate.
  • Anyone operating a PWC on Pennsylvania public waters must have in their possession a boating safety education certificate.

Even if not required by law to get the Pennsylvania boating license, many boaters take the boat safety course in order to save on their PWC or boat insurance.


Residents of other states who were born on or after January 1, 1982, and operate on Pennsylvania waters for 60 days or less are exempt if they hold a boating safety certificate issued by their home state.

Age Restrictions

There is no minimum age to take the online boat safety exam. However children 11 years old or younger are not legally allowed to operate a PWC or motorboat with greater than 25 horsepower (hp) under any conditions.


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.”)


Pennsylvania 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 More Information

For details about the boater education law, who is exempt from the education requirement, which courses are approved, the Certification Exam, and the application for the Boater Education Certificate, visit

Quick Links

Is the Boating Certificate the same as a Boating License?

The Pennsylvania Boating Safety Education Certificate is proof that you have successfully completed an approved boating safety course. Since the boater education certificate does not expire and does not need to be renewed, it is not called a Pennsylvania Boating License.

Pennsylvania Boating Safety Education Certificate

How do I get my state boating license?

You may have heard that you need the Pennsylvania Boat License to operate your boat, but what you really need is the Pennsylvania Boating Safety Education Certificate. You can get the Pennsylvania Boating Safety Education Certificate by taking this Boat License Safety course at Find out if you need the card.

Did you lose your card? Replace it here.

Approved by:

Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission
1601 Elmerton Avenue, PO Box 67000
Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000