Official Boater Safety Education Course

Take this Virginia state–approved online course, print your temporary certificate, and be on the water in just a few hours.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, US Coast Guard, and NASBLA logos Approved by Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Who Needs the Card?

Anyone who operates a PWC and anyone under 46 years old who operates a motorboat in Virginia

Get your Virginia Boater Education Certificate in 3 steps.

  1. Study and Pass the Virginia Boater Safety Course

    Register for the course, study the free online course material, and pass the Virginia boater safety quizzes. Once you pass all of the quizzes, you have passed the course.

  2. Pay and Print Your Temporary Certificate

    After passing and paying the $29.50 course fee, you’ll instantly print out a temporary certificate, which is your temporary operating permit to operate legally on Virginia waters while you wait for your permanent card to arrive.

  3. Receive Your Boater Education Card in the Mail

    Your lifetime Virginia Boater Education Certificate will arrive by mail in 8-10 business days. (Use your Temporary Boater Education Certificate to get on the water immediately after passing the course and until your permanent card arrives.)

    Ready? Start the Course Today →

What to Expect When Taking the Course

Learning: Step by Step

To help you improve your boating skills , the course is broken down into 6 easy-to-understand units that you can complete at your own pace:

  • Unit 1: Before Getting Underway
  • Unit 2: Getting Out on the Water
  • Unit 3: Navigation and Safe Operation
  • Unit 4: Virginia's Legal Requirements of Boating
  • Unit 5: Boating Emergencies
  • Unit 6: Enjoying Water Sports

Reinforcement: Unit Quizzes

As you progress through the course, you’ll be given the opportunity to demonstrate how well you’re understanding the boater safety topics by taking a quiz at the end of each of the 6 units.

You’ll need to score 90% or greater on the unit quiz before moving on to the next unit.

If you don’t pass a unit quiz, that’s no problem. You’ll just go back and study the unit again until you’re ready to pass.

Mastery: Course Completion

After passing all the unit quizzes with a score of 90% or greater you will have demonstrated successful mastery of the boating safety course material.

By taking a boating safety course and applying the lessons you learn, you help to ensure that our waterways are the safest they can be.

  • Boat ramp etiquette
    Illustration from Unit 2: Getting Out on the Water
  • Boating safety tips
    Illustration from Unit 5: Boating Emergencies
  • Local regulations
    Illustration from Unit 6: Enjoying Water Sports

A Comprehensive Course in Virginia Boating Education

Video Instruction

The Virginia online boater education study guide and course feature context-based video instruction to enhance your retention and motivation. You will watch live-action videos of boat and PWC operators preparing for an outing, using good judgment, and reacting to unexpected changes.

Boating Basics Instruction

The Boat Virginia Course features easy-to-understand boating safety instructions and hundreds of detailed illustrations to help you improve your boating skills and become a better, more prepared skipper.

This online boating safety course is based on Boat Virginia - A Course on Responsible Boating, which was developed and printed by Boat Ed specifically for use with the Boat Virginia Course.

Boat Ed is the only boating safety education course and exam provider that develops print materials on behalf of state government boating and boater safety agencies.

  • Virginia Specific Safety Topics This boater safety course is based on the Boat Virginia - A Course on Responsible Boating manual.
  • Boating safety education has proven to be successful in reducing boating accidents, injuries, and conflicts among boaters Boat Ed is the only boating safety course provider that develops print materials on behalf of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Comprehensive Boater Education Content

This Virginia boater education course covers a range of topics—from safety instructions to boat handling to reading the weather—and prepares you for a variety of situations you could find yourself in while on the water.

Boaters can keep themselves and their passengers safe by learning about responsible boat operation, etiquette, and the rules of the water.

Because educated boaters are safer boaters, completing this Virginia-approved online course may also earn you a discount on your boat and PWC insurance.

  • Figure from Unit 4 - Preparing Your Anchor Learn the rules of the water to have a safe and enjoyable day boating in Virginia.
  • Figure from Unit 3 - Penalties for Operating Under the Influence
    Free boat safety training material recognized by Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Interactive Animations

Learning in this Virginia boater safety course is reinforced by the use of interactive animations that help students understand safe boating skills such as understanding traffic laws on the water, dealing with emergencies, and more.

Interactive Animation Preview Video (00:45s)

It’s Official and Approved!

This online boater education course is approved by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard as an approved online boating license course.

It’s the Law!

Virginia law enforcement officers patrol the waterways to make your boating experience safe and pleasant. Cooperate with them by following the Virginia boating laws and guidelines in this course.

It’s Fast and Easy!

With this complete boater course, finish your classroom boating safety educational requirement at your own pace on your mobile device or computer in a just a few hours. Complete the course in one sitting or a little at a time. It’s up to you.

It’s Made in the USA!

This Virginia boat license safety course is proudly made in Dallas, Texas, USA, and our servers and data storage facilities are located within the USA.

How do I get my state boating license?

You may have heard that you need the Virginia Boat License to operate your boat, but what you really need is the Virginia Boater Education Certificate. You can get the Virginia Boater 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:

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
4010 West Broad Street, P.O. Box 11104
Richmond, Virginia 23230
(804) 367-1000