South Dakota Boating Laws and Regulations

Do you need South Dakota Boating education?

South Dakota

South Dakota does not require boating education. You can take this course to save on insurance or to boat in states that require a card.

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

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


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

Age and Operator Restrictions

No person under 12 years of age may operate a motorboat propelled by a motor of more than 6 hp unless there is a person 18 years of age or older on board the motorboat.

No person under the age of 14 may operate a personal watercraft, regardless of horsepower, unless there is a person 18 years of age or older on board the PWC.


South Dakota 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 South Dakota 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 South Dakota Boating License.

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

Frequently Asked Questions