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Educate. Entertain. Inspire.

Boating Education

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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.

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.

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 Website, 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 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 - Source:

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