Texas Boating Laws and Regulations
You need boater education if you were born on or after Sept. 1, 1993, and will be operating a boat over 15 hp, a PWC, or a sailboat over 14 feet long in Texas.
You must be at least 13 years old to take this online course.
You do not have to be a resident of Texas to take this online course.
Boating education is currently required in several U.S. states and Canadian provinces.
Age and Operator Restrictions
Operators must meet the age and boater education requirements shown below in order to operate any of the following vessels legally in Texas:
- A powerboat powered by a motor of more than 15 hp or…
- A PWC or…
- A windblown vessel over 14 feet in length.
A person less than 13 years of age may operate only if he or she is supervised by a person who:
- Is 18 years of age or older and…
- Can lawfully operate the watercraft and…
- Is on board when the vessel is underway.
A person at least 13 years of age and born on or after Sept. 1, 1993, may operate without supervision only if he or she has passed a boater education course that is accepted by Texas Parks and Wildlife.
Texas 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 Texas 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 Texas Boating License.
Even if not required by law to get the Texas 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 Texas an enjoyable pastime! Become an educated, responsible boater by completing the Boat Texas 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 Texas Boating students most frequently ask.Frequently Asked Questions