Boater education courses save lives and reduce accidents and injuries on the water. In the United States, 45 states have educational requirements for operating a boat or Power Water Craft (PWC) on state waters.

Boating safety is a concern for everyone on the water. Boaters can keep themselves and their passengers safe by learning about responsible boat operation, etiquette, and the rules of the waterways.

To learn what your state’s law requires visit Boat-Ed. State laws can differ but even if your state doesn’t require you to complete a boater safety course, if you operate a PWC in another state, you may be required to have a Boater Education Card. If you will be operating a PWC in another state, you can view that state’s individual boater law at Boat-Ed.

For instance, Wyoming does not require a Boater Education Card, but you can take their Boater Safety Course and get a card to save on insurance or to boat in other states that require a card. Your card is recognized in all 50 states because the Official Boater Safety Courses and Boater Safety Education Materials offered at Boat-Ed are all recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard and approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and your state boating license agency.  NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories.

Prices for the course vary by state, but most run about $29.50. You can take the course online; it typically takes about 4-6 hours to complete the course material, aside from the quizzes or tests and any extra studying you may choose to do. You can take it all at once or complete it a little at a time over several days.

Failed the certification exam? You can retake it immediately and will have unlimited attempts to pass this exam. You must score at least 80% on the exam to pass. Some states allow you to print out a temporary certification and get out on the water immediately. Your permanent card will arrive in 2-4 weeks, depending on the state.