Boating Mandatory Education
State law requires operators of motorboats with 15 horsepower or greater to take a safety education course and obtain a boater education card to operate a boat in Washington. Boaters can take an education course in a classroom, online, or at home.
Classroom courses in boating safety vary in length and cost, depending on the course provider. Classes offer students the chance to interact with an instructor who is an experienced boater as well as learn specific local boating information and network with other boaters. For a variety of classroom and online options visit the State Parks and Recreation Commission’s Boating Program Web page.
The home study course helps boaters meet requirements of the state's mandatory boater education law. The course includes the Adventures in Boating Washington, A Course in Responsible Boating manual and certification exam booklet. Upon successful completion of the exam, a certificate of accomplishment is issued. (course description)
To order a free copy of the boaters’ guide and exam booklet:
By phone: (360) 570-3062
Online: Order the Adventures in Washington Boating Home Study course book through the Department of Printing Fulfillment Center Web site at http://myprint.wa.gov.
Obtaining a Boater Education Card
After taking the boater education course, you must submit your certificate of completion together with a completed application and a check for $10. Then you will receive a Boater Education Card. State law requires most operators of motorboats with a 15 horsepower or greater motor to get a boater education card. Boat operators who were born before Jan. 1, 1955, are exempt. Boat operators of other ages are being phased in. To see when you are required to carry a boater education card, visit the Washington State Parks and Recreation Web site at http://parks.wa.gov/boating/boatered/?subject=faq.
If you take the course online or have already taken an approved boating class, you will need to submit your course completion certificate along with the Boater Education Card Application. The card is good for a lifetime.
Read more about the state’s boating program
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission’s boating program promotes safe and environmentally responsible recreation on Washington's waterways. A citizen advisory committee guides program activities. Where possible all boating safety activities occur at the county and city levels. The state program assists local groups that provide the public with boating safety education and law enforcement activities.
FREE online paddle sports safety course!
The Washington State Parks Boating Program invites boaters to try an online course for paddlers. The free, online paddling course is being offered by BoaterExam.com. The course is approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, a nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. The course covers the basics for your first adventure on the water…a must for anyone looking to start paddling. Whether you have a desire to learn the sport for the first time or improve your skills as a paddler, the course will provide you with basic boating knowledge and sharpen your skills.
Take the free course and you’ll start your boating season with important information that will help you build on your technique, confidence, and enhance your time out on the waterways! Get started