Does my state require a boat license?

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Every state and the District of Columbia requires some or all boaters to complete a boating safety course, but only Alabama mandates an actual boaters license.

Boat License Versus Boat Safety Course Certificate

A boater safety certificate and a boat license are not one and the same. A boat safety course certificate is the boating world's version of a diploma, proving successful completion of the course, whereas a boat license is similar to a car license, requiring an application along with identification and proper payment. And unlike a certificate, a boat license can be revoked for operational recklessness.

Before captaining your boat or PWC, educate yourself on your state's boater safety requirements. Many states now require all boaters to complete a boat safety course, regardless of age or boat speed. If a class is required, you'll find most states offer classes year-round.

Boat License Required Not Required
Alabama
x
Alaska
x
Arizona
x
Arkansas
x
California
x
Colorado
x
Connecticut
x
Delaware
x
Florida
x
Georgia
x
Hawaii
x
Idaho
x
Illinois
x
Indiana
x
Iowa
x
Kansas
x
Kentucky
x
Louisiana
x
Maine
x
Maryland
x
Massachusetts
x
Michigan
x
Minnesota
x
Mississippi
x
Missouri
x
Montana
x
Nebraska
x
Nevada
x
New Hampshire
x
New Jersey
x
New Mexico
x
New York
x
North Carolina
x
North Dakota
x
Ohio
x
Oklahoma
x
Oregon
x
Pennsylvania
x
Rhode Island
x
South Carolina
x
South Dakota
x
Tennessee
x
Texas
x
Utah
x
Vermont
x
Virginia
x
Washington
x
West Virginia
x
Wisconsin
x
Wyoming
x
Washington DC
x

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