Wisconsin Boating Laws and Regulations

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

Do you need Wisconsin Boating education?

Wisconsin

You need education if you are at least 16 years old and born on or after Jan. 1, 1989, and will be operating a motorboat or PWC in Wisconsin.

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

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

Elsewhere

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

Age and Operator Restrictions

A person born on or after Jan. 1, 1989, and at least 16 years old may operate a motorboat only if he or she has completed a boating safety course accepted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

A person who is at least 12 years old may operate a PWC only if he or she has completed a boating safety course accepted by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Enforcement

Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin Boating Safety 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 Wisconsin Boating License.

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

Reciprocity

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 Wisconsin Boating students most frequently ask.

Frequently Asked Questions