Virginia Boating Laws and Regulations

Passing this Boating license course will complete your online safety education for Virginia.

Do you need Virginia Boating education?

Virginia

All PWC operators age 14 and older and all motorboat operators of 10 hp or greater regardless of age need to take a boating safety course.

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

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

Elsewhere

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

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.

Is the Boating Card the same as the Boating License?

The Virginia 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 Virginia Boating License.

Even if not required by law to get the Virginia 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 Virginia an enjoyable pastime! Become an educated, responsible boater by completing the Boat Virginia course, and practice what you learn.

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.”)

Need help? Here are the answers to the questions Virginia Boating students most frequently ask.

Frequently Asked Questions