Washington’s Boater Safety Education Program

Washington joins more than 40 states with educational requirements for operating a boat or PWC on state waters.

By completing and passing this Washington–approved online boating license course, you will have satisfied the educational requirement for Washington.

It’s the Law!

Get Safe. Get Certified.

Who Needs the Card?

Washington's boater education law requires all boaters 59 years of age and under operating a powered watercraft of 15hp or greater to take a safety education course and obtain a Boater Education Card to operate a boat in Washington.


  • Your vessel has an engine that is under 15hp.
  • Your age group does not yet require a Boater Education Card.
  • You were born prior to January 1, 1955.
  • You hold a valid U.S. Coast Guard Marine Operator's License.

Age Restrictions

Washington Boater Education Law contains the following age-specific restrictions:

  • Persons under 12 years of age may not operate a power-driven vessel with an engine that is 15 horsepower or more.
  • Persons 12 years of age or older may operate a power-driven vessel with an engine that is 15 horsepower or more if they have a Boater Education Card (see below).
  • Persons 14 years of age or older may operate a personal watercraft (PWC) if they have a Boater Education Card (see below).
  • It is illegal to lease, hire, or rent a PWC to anyone under 16 years of age.

Law “Phase-In” Period

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

Phase-in Schedule
Year Card required if you are:
2013 50 and younger
2014 59 and younger
After 2014 All boat operators except those who are exempt


Washington 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.

For details about the boater education law, who is exempt from the education requirement, which courses are approved, the Certification Exam, and the application for the Boater Education Card, visit http://www.parks.wa.gov.

Quick Links

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 a Washington Boating License.

Washington Boater Education 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 boat-ed.com. 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 boat-ed.com

For New and Experienced Washington Boaters

Approved by:

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