Washington Boating Laws and Regulations

Do you need Washington Boating education?


You need education if you are operating a powered watercraft of 15 hp or more in Washington.

You must be at least 12 years old to take this online course.

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


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


Education is not required if:

  • Your vessel has an engine that is under 15 hp.
  • You were born prior to January 1, 1955.
  • You hold a valid U.S. Coast Guard Marine Operator’s License.

Age and Operator 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 hp or more.
  • Persons 12 years of age or older may operate a power-driven vessel with an engine that is 15 hp or more if they have a Washington Boater Education Card.
  • Persons 14 years of age or older may operate a PWC if they have a Washington Boater Education Card.
  • It is illegal to lease, hire, or rent a PWC to anyone under 16 years of age.


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.

Is the Boating Card the same as the Boating License?

The Washington Boater Education Card 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 Washington Boating License.

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


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.”)

Get Certified Online!

Take this Washington–approved course to complete your online Boating safety education.

Washington Boating safety education card Lifetime Card

unlimited exam attempts

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

Frequently Asked Questions