Virginia Boating Laws and Regulations

Age and Operator Restrictions

Beginning July 1, 2016, all motorboat operators of 10 hp or greater, regardless of age, and all PWC operators 14 years old or older must take a boating safety course.

No one under the age of 14 may operate a PWC. Operators 14 and 15 years old must show proof of completing education.

Enforcement

Virginia 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.

Reciprocity

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.”)

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Frequently Asked Questions