You might be surprised to know that 42 U.S. states require mandatory boating education certificates to operate a boat. The eight states that have no boating education requirements are Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Your state boating license may not be valid in another state.
There are boating safety courses that are valid in all 50 states like boat-ed.com’s boater safety course and ilearntoboat.com’s boater safety course. The licenses from these two boater education courses never expire and never need to be renewed. Plus, you can take these courses online.
Do You Need a Boating License?
First, if your state requires a boater safety education course, you need to have boating safety certification to show law enforcement. Second, of the approximately 7,700 accidents reported each year, the U.S. Coast Guard found that operator error as opposed to boat or environmental factors causes nearly 70% of boating accidents. Estimates suggest boaters do not report less than 10% of minor boating accidents.
Yes, you need a boating license in 42 states. A boating license is actually a Boater Education Certificate, not an actual boating license. Incompetent boaters cause more accidents, and the accidents they cause are more severe. Over 80% of recreational boat operators involved in fatal boating accidents have taken no type of boater education course.
The lack of education in personal watercraft operators (jet skis) is a problem. A 1997 study estimated that 84% of PWC operators, including renters, had received no boating instruction. PWC injuries account for 36% of all reported boating injuries.
Boating looks like a hoot! But those are the stark realities, and taking a boating safety course is crucial education. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), boating fatalities are second only to highway fatalities. As of 2022, there were 12.7 million boats registered in the U.S., and its waterways are becoming increasingly more congested.
Bodies of water are like fire. Fire can keep you warm when it is cold, or it can destroy acres of land and buildings. Playing on the water gives so much joy, but it is deadly if you do not take safety precautions. This is the reason why 42 U.S. states require boating safety courses for boat and PWC operators.
Do You Need a Boating License for a Jet Ski?
Jet Ski is the brand name for a Kawasaki personal watercraft (PWC). Yamaha’s WaveRunner, Bombardier’s Sea-Doo, and Honda’s AquaTrax along with Jet Skis are the most popular PWCs.
Yes, in 42 states. The U.S. Coast Guard defines a Personal Watercraft as a craft which is less than 16 feet in length and designed to be operated by a person or persons sitting, standing, or kneeling on the craft rather than within the confines of a hull. The USCG considers the PWC a Class A inboard boat that is required to be registered.
PWC registration papers must be onboard while the craft is in use. The USCG requires that the registration number and hull identification numbers must be visible. Children are required to have PWC certification, and many states also require children under the legal age limit to be supervised by an adult.
Advantages of a Boating Safety Course
The primary advantage of taking a boating safety course is to learn life saving skills on the water and to avoid boating accidents. Second, most U.S. states require a boating safety course in order to operate a boat. Third, a certification can save on insurance premiums. Fourth, boating etiquette is essential for getting along with other boaters. Taking a boating safety course will prepare you to have a fun and safe time on the water.
What is a Captain’s License Versus a Boating License?
There is a difference between the two licenses. A Captain’s License gives the boat operator all the responsibilities of everything and everyone on his or her vessel. A boating license is for recreational boaters.
A captain’s license allows a boat or ship operator to engage in commercial enterprises on the water, like as a fishing guide, operating cruising and dinner tours, etc., and on up to huge freight ships and cruise ships. A boating license or boating education certificate is proof that you have completed a boater safety certificate.
The U.S. Coast Guard issues captain’s licenses and enables the holder to operate a commercial vessel. The Six-Pack Captain’s License enables a boater to carry up to six paying passengers, while the Master License is required for over six commercial passengers. You must have a log of a certain amount of hours you have spent on the water before you can apply for a Captain’s License.
A recreational boating license assures the state you live in that you know the rules of the water, how to be safe on the water, and what to do in emergencies on the water. These requirements vary from state to state.
What Is the Right Kind of Boating Education?
If you were to poll boating educators, they would be split into three camps, the Traditionalists, the Electronics and the Hybrids.
Traditionalists believe that the best boating education is taught with charts, dividers, and parallel rules. Electronics believe those tools are obsolete, and a combined electronic chart plotter, radar, and GPS are the best methods. Hybrids believe in using the best of both worlds, like old school navigation with electronic aides.
Boater education classes are taught online today. The USCG offers online and classroom classes. Most state and public boater education courses are also online. All you have to do is google Coast Guard Auxiliary (CGAUX) boater education to find out where, what, when, and how to get your boater safety certification.
CGAUX instructors committed to the highest standards of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. The CGAUX offers courses in two modalities: virtual, video conference with CGAUX Virtual PE Instructors, and in a classroom setting with CGAUX PE Instructors. Also, two other online certification courses offer boater education certificates that are valid in all 50 states.
Taking a boater education course is the most important thing you will do to make sure you, your family, and your friends are as safe as they can be on the water. If you have never driven a boat, it is crucial to take these courses, and 42 states demand certification. You will have much more fun with confidence on the water with a boater education certification.