Manditory Boater Certification Card

 Boater Certification Card
As you may or may not know, beginning in the year 2008, you may be required to have a boater education certification card depending on your year of birth. This card is similar to a driver’s license, in that you must carry it with you at all times while piloting a boat with a motor greater than 15 MPH (this includes personal watercraft, commonly called jet ski’s). For more information visit or call 1.360.902.8844.

Boating Safety Mandatory Education Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get my Boating Safety Education Card?

You must first complete the application (select link at right). Follow the directions on the application and mail the application, a copy of your course completion certificate and $10 to the address given on the application.

When will I receive my Boating Safety Education Card?

Once your application and supporting documents are received, it takes approximately six weeks to process your application and send out the Boating Safety Education Card.

How much does a Boating Safety Education Card cost?


What boats fall under the Boating Safety Education Card requirements?

The law applies to all motorboats that have a motor with 15 horsepower or greater. All operators on other boats are not required to have a Boating Safety Education Card. This includes manually powered boats such as canoes, kayaks, rowboats, drift boats, sail-only boats, etc.

Is the Boating Safety Education Card a license?

No. Once you apply for and receive your Boating Safety Education Card it is good for life and cannot be taken away from you.

What do I do if my card is lost or damaged?

You can get a replacement card for $5. See the application form for directions on applying for a replacement card.

What do I need to do to qualify for a Boater Safety Education Card?

You must take a course that is approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. Select course options or class schedule link at right.

Do all boaters need a card?

No. RCW 79A.60.64 states that people born before Jan. 1, 1955, are exempt from needing a Boater Safety Education Card. Many older boaters are still getting cards anyway because they boat in Canada and Oregon. Canada and Oregon do not exempt people born before Jan. 1, 1955.

Is my Boater Safety Education Card good in other states and Canada that have mandatory boating education requirements?

Yes. All states that have mandatory boater education requirements will accept a Washington Boater Education Card. Through an agreement between Canada and NASBLA, we have reciprocity for United States boater education cards that are issued by states that meet NASBLA requirements.

Is my Oregon Boater Education Card valid in Washington?

Yes. If you are visiting Washington for less than 60 consecutive days, your Oregon card is valid. If you become a Washington resident, your Oregon Boater Education Card can be used to obtain a Washington Boater Education Card. This is also true for other state’s cards that meet the reciprocity requirements.

When will I be required to have my Washington Boater Education Card in my possession when operating a boat?


The card requirement is being phased in from 2008 to 2014. All operators of boats having motors of 15 horsepower or greater are required to have their Boater Safety Education Card with them when operating a boat as follows: Year

Age Group



12 years to 20 years old


25 years and under


30 years and under


35 years and under


40 years and under


50 years and under


60 years and under

After 2014

All boat operators except those exempted elsewhere in RCW 79A.60.640

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