Official Boater Safety Education Course

Take this Wisconsin state–approved online course, print your temporary certificate, and be on the water in just a few hours.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, US Coast Guard, and NASBLA logos Approved by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Who Needs the Card?

Anyone at least 16 years old and born after Dec. 31, 1988, who operates a motorboat or PWC in Wisconsin

Get your Wisconsin Boating Safety Education Certificate in 3 steps.

  1. Study and Pass the Wisconsin Boater Safety Course

    Study the free online course material. After completing the course, you’ll take the Wisconsin Final Exam. (If you don’t pass on the first try, don’t worry. Keep taking the Final Exam for free until you pass.)

    Important! You'll need your WI DNR Customer Number to complete the course. Call WI DNR at 1-888-936-7463 between 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM or visit a DNR service center to get yours.

  2. Pay and Print Your Temporary Certificate

    After passing and paying the $29.50 course fee, you’ll instantly print out a temporary certificate, which is your temporary operating permit to operate legally on Wisconsin waters while you wait for your permanent card to arrive.

  3. Receive Your Boater Education Card in the Mail

    Your lifetime Wisconsin Boating Safety Education Certificate will arrive by mail in 6 weeks. (Use your Boating Safety Education Certificate to get on the water immediately after passing the course and until your permanent card arrives.)

    Ready? Start the Course Today →

What to Expect When Taking the Course

Learning: Step by Step

To help you improve your boating skills and to prepare you for the Final Exam, the course is broken down into 7 easy-to-understand units that you can complete at your own pace:

  • Unit 1: How This Course Works
  • Unit 2: Before Getting Underway
  • Unit 3: Getting Out on the Water
  • Unit 4: Navigation and Safe Operation
  • Unit 5: Wisconsin's Legal Requirements of Boating
  • Unit 6: Boating Emergencies
  • Unit 7: Enjoying Water Sports

Reinforcement: Unit Quizzes

As you progress through the course, you’ll be given the opportunity to demonstrate how well you’re understanding the boater safety topics by taking a quiz at the end of each of the 7 units.

You’ll need to score 70% or greater on the unit quiz before moving on to the next unit.

If you don’t pass a unit quiz, that’s no problem. You’ll just go back and study the unit again until you’re ready to pass.

Mastery: The Final Exam

After completing all units, you’ll have the choice to proceed directly to the Final Exam or you may first take a practice exam.

Both the practice exam and the Final Exam cover all the course material and will assess your knowledge of boating safely on Wisconsin waters.

You must score 80% or greater on the Final Exam to pass. If you fail the Final Exam, there is no penalty. You can retake the exam as many times as you like until you pass.

  • Boat ramp etiquette
    Illustration from Unit 2: Getting Out on the Water
  • Boating safety tips
    Illustration from Unit 5: Boating Emergencies
  • Local regulations
    Illustration from Unit 6: Enjoying Water Sports

A Comprehensive Course in Wisconsin Boating Education

Boating Basics Instruction

The Boat Wisconsin Course features easy-to-understand boating safety instructions and hundreds of detailed illustrations to help you improve your boating skills and become a better, more prepared skipper.

This online boating safety course is based on Boat Wisconsin - A Course on Responsible Boating, which was developed and printed by Boat Ed specifically for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for use in classroom instruction.

Boat Ed is the only boating safety education course and exam provider that develops print materials on behalf of state government boating and boater safety agencies.

  • Wisconsin Specific Safety Topics This boater safety course is based on the Boat Wisconsin - A Course on Responsible Boating manual.
  • Boating safety education has proven to be successful in reducing boating accidents, injuries, and conflicts among boaters Boat Ed is the only boating safety course provider that develops print materials on behalf of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Comprehensive Boater Education Content

This Wisconsin boater education course covers a range of topics—from safety instructions to boat handling to reading the weather—and prepares you for a variety of situations you could find yourself in while on the water.

Boaters can keep themselves and their passengers safe by learning about responsible boat operation, etiquette, and the rules of the water.

Because educated boaters are safer boaters, completing this Wisconsin-approved online course can also earn you a discount on your boat and PWC insurance.

  • Figure from Unit 4 - Preparing Your Anchor Learn the rules of the water to have a safe and enjoyable day boating in Wisconsin.
  • Figure from Unit 3 - Penalties for Operating Under the Influence
    Free boat safety exam training material recognized by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Video Instruction

The Wisconsin online boater education study guide and course feature context-based video instruction to enhance your retention and motivation. You will watch live-action videos of boat and PWC operators preparing for an outing, using good judgement, and reacting to unexpected changes.

  • Casting Off video thumbnail Sample course instructional video, “Casting Off”
  • Capsizing, Swamping, or Falling Overboard video thumbnail Sample course instructional video, “Capsizing, Swamping, or Falling Overboard”

Interactive Animations

Learning in this Wisconsin boater safety course is reinforced by the use of interactive animations that help students understand safe boating skills such as understanding traffic laws on the water, dealing with emergencies, and more.

Interactive Animation Preview Video (00:45s)

It’s Official and Approved!

This online boater education course is approved by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard as an approved online boating license course.

It’s the Law!

Wisconsin law enforcement officers patrol the waterways to make your boating experience safe and pleasant. Cooperate with them by following the Wisconsin boating laws and guidelines in this course.

It’s Fast and Easy!

With this complete boater course, finish your classroom boating safety educational requirement at your own pace on your mobile device or computer in a just a few hours. Complete the course in one sitting or a little at a time. It’s up to you.

It’s Made in the USA!

This Wisconsin boat license safety course is proudly made in Dallas, Texas, USA, and our servers and data storage facilities are located within the USA.

How do I get my state boating license?

You may have heard that you need the Wisconsin Boat License to operate your boat, but what you really need is the Wisconsin Boating Safety Education Certificate. You can get the Wisconsin Boating Safety Education Certificate 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

The Handbook of Wisconsin Boating Laws and Responsibilities, developed for Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and available online only at

For New and Experienced Wisconsin Boaters

Approved by:

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
101 S. Webster Street . PO Box 7921
Madison, Wisconsin 53707-7921