The Washington Boater Education Card

Proof that you have successfully completed the Washington State Parks–approved boating safety course

To get your own Washington boating card, just complete this Washington online boating license course.

Washington Boater License

Who needs the Boater Education Card?

Washington’s boater education law requires all boaters below a certain age to get the Boater Education Card (often referred to as a "boating license") if operating a powered watercraft of 15 hp or greater. Refer to the chart below to find out if you are required to get the Boater Education Card.

Phase-In Period

The law is being phased in by operator age over several years. After January 1, 2014, all boaters, unless exempt, must have a Washington Boater Education Card.

Who Needs a Washington Boating License?
The Washington State Boating Programs encourage boaters to get their cards as soon as possible.

You Must 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.


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.”)

$Not carrying your Boater Education Card when one is required can result in a fine.

Is the Boating Card the same as a Boating License?

The Washington Boater Education Card is proof that you have successfully completed an approved boating safety course. Since the boater education card does not expire and does not need to be renewed, it is not called the Washington Boating License.

I do not have a driver’s license. Can I still get the Washington Boater Education Card?

Yes. You are not required to have a state driver’s license in order to obtain a Boater Education Card.

How do I get a card?

Get your card in 3 easy steps.

Complete the Course

Step One: Register for the course, study the free online course material, and pass the Washington Certification Exam. (If you don’t pass on the first try, don’t worry. Keep taking the Certification Exam for free until you pass.)

Print Temporary Certificate

Step Two: After passing and paying the $29.50 course fee, you’ll instantly print out a temporary certificate valid for 60 days. After passing, you will also purchase the required lifetime Washington Boater Education Card for $10.50.

Get on the Water!

Step Three: Your Washington Boater Education Card will arrive in the mail in 6 weeks. While waiting, your temporary certificate (the Certificate of Course Completion) you printed in Step Two will serve as your proof to legally operate on Washington waters.

How do I get a replacement card?

If your card was lost, stolen, destroyed, or if your legal name has been changed, you may apply for a replacement card for a $5 fee.

To receive a replacement card, you must first complete a Card Replacement Affidavit (PDF download).

To receive your card, send a completed affidavit along with a check or money order for $5, made payable to Washington State Parks, to:

Washington State Parks
Boating Programs
P.O. Box 34333
Seattle, WA 98124-1333

Please allow 4-6 weeks to process an affidavit and receive a replacement card.

How do I get my state boating license?

You may have heard that you need the Washington Boat License to operate your boat, but what you really need is the Washington Boater Education Card. You can get the Washington Boater Education Card by taking this Boat License Safety course at Find out if you need the card.

Did you lose your card? Replace it here.

Got the Card? Get the Handbook

Adventures in Boating Washington Handbook, developed for Washington State Parks and available online only at

For New and Experienced Washington Boaters

Approved by:

Washington State Parks
P.O. Box 42650
Olympia, WA 98504
(360) 902-8555