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Boater Education Boat at dock with man and dog

Getting a Mandatory Boater Education Card

If you are boating in Washington, you must have a Washington State Boater Education Card with you when operating a boat 15 horsepower or greater. Boater education card

If you were born before January 1,1955, you are exempt.

To get a card, follow these easy steps:

  1. Take an approved boater education course

    • Classroom Courses

    • Equivalency Exam - If you are an experienced boater and have a good working knowledge of navigation rules and Washington laws, you may opt to take an equivalency exam with no reference material.

    • Hands-On Training Courses - The on-the-water boat handling skills are designed to make you comfortable, knowledgeable, and safe. Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission has a list of organizations that offer boating education with classroom and hands-on training.

    • Home Study Course - This course consists of an online study guide and certification exam booklet. The course offers the basics of safe boating that all recreational boaters should know, and covers a number of important laws and regulations. A certificate of accomplishment is issued after successful completion of the exam.

    • Online Courses - Washington State Parks has a list of approved online courses. These are run by private companies and some are free and others have a fee.

  2. After taking the boater education course, submit the Boater Education Card Application to State Parks, along with $10, and a legal copy of your proof of course completion.