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Getting a Mandatory Boater Education Card

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
Classroom courses 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, learn specific local boating information, and network with other boaters. Visit Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission for detailed information.

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 a 75-question equivalency exam with no reference material.

To request a equivalency exam, email the Boating Department of Washington State Parks and Recreation with the following information:

  • Date of birth
  • First and last name, exactly as it on your current government-issued photo identification (e.g. driver’s license, state I.D. card, or passport)
  • Mailing address (including city, state, and zip code)
Send only one name per email request. A unique numbered certification exam and detailed instructions will be mailed to you. Allow up to two weeks for delivery.

Hands-On Training Courses
Classroom and hands-on courses vary in length and cost, depending on the course provider. Classes offer students the chance to take a certified boater safety course, while interacting with an instructor who is an experienced boater. The on-the-water boat handling skills are designed to make you comfortable, knowledgeable, and safe. Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission has a list of organizations that offer boating education with classroom and hands-on training.

Home Study Courses
The Adventures in Boating Washington home study 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 upon successful completion of the exam.

To take a home study course read the online study guide Boat Washington Course. You do not need to register for the course for access to the online study guide. To request the certification exam booklet, email the Boating Department of Washington State Parks and Recreation with the following information:

  • Date of birth
  • First and last name, exactly as it on your current government-issued photo identification (e.g. driver’s license, state I.D. card, or passport)
  • Mailing address (including city, state, and zip code)
Send only one name per email request. A unique numbered certification exam and detailed instructions will be mailed to you. Allow up to two weeks for delivery.

If you have any questions regarding the Boater Education Card Home Study Program, email the Boating Department of the Washington State Parks and Recreation or call 360-902-8555.

Online Courses
Washington State Parks has approved all of the online courses listed on their Web site, but does not recommend any course specifically. The online course providers are privately owned. Washington State Parks does not receive any money from course fees charged. Some online courses are free and others have a fee. The fee is charged usually for exam results and only when the exam is passed. The course fee charged is determined solely at the discretion of the online course provider.

Obtaining a Boater Education Card

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

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

 
bullet Other Boating Education Resources

bullet Register Your Boat

bullet Find Places to Go Boating

bullet Get Weather and Tide Information

bullet Get Your Fishing License

bullet Where to Go Fishing

bullet Boating Laws

bullet Moorage Information

bullet Green Boating

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