A Step-By-Step Guide To Obtaining A Boating License For Your Next Trip

Recreational boating has increased its popularity over the years. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, 310,000 new boats sold in 2020 despite the pandemic. It’s the highest since 2008. Most of them are personal watercraft, wake boats, and freshwater fishing boats. Because of this, boating groups believe that the boating industry will continue its trend in the years to come.  

If you want to start your boating adventure on your next trip, you may need to secure a boating license. Aside from making it more personal, having such will ensure that you won’t receive fines along with your boat operations. While the legal requirements vary in most states, a boating license is one of the necessities before a person can start using their boat. 

To help you obtain a boating license, below is the step-by-step guide that could assist you in the process. Read on:

1. Enroll In A Boating Safety Course

Before securing a boating license, as an aspirant, you may need to enroll in a boating safety course. This way, they could learn about boating knowledge, safety, and other essentials in boat operation. Taking these boat safety courses is the first step towards securing a boating license.  

Most boating safety courses provide a line of offers, including the following:  

  • State-approved boater education 
  • Flexible and interactive learning modules 
  • Boating simulations 

In most states, most aspirants opt for online boating courses. For example, you want to enroll in an interactive boating course in California, you may apply to an online provider such as https://www.ilearntoboat.com/california/. These providers usually offer flexible and self-paced learning so even the busiest people could enroll in them without hassle.

2. Enrich Boating Knowledge, Tips, and Laws

While enrolled in a boating safety course, applicants could also research boating knowledge, tips, and laws. This way, they could have a two-way approach to learning. If you want to consider gaining information about boating, you may deep-dive into the following topics: 

  • The importance, uses, and restrictions of a boater card 
  • Age allowed to have a boating license 
  • Boating rules, laws, and violations 
  • Boating safety practices 
  • Safe docking and maneuver 
  • Wind and sea current 
  • Basic navigational skills
  • Fundamental charts and course plotting

Gaining new insights and knowledge through home studies is not mandatory. Boating courses could cover most, if not all, of these topics. However, many boating vets suggest doing so as it increases the chances of passing the exam. In addition, even if one goes abroad and tries sea activities such as operating narrowboats and personal watercraft, they won’t feel strange about it.

3. Pass The Boating License Test

Typically, applicants may take their boating license test after 3 to 8 hours of learning. These are composed of modules and real-life simulations. License test providers usually give applicants multiple attempts to pass the license exam. After passing the exam, applicants will receive their boater education certificate. It means that they have successfully undergone a state-approved boater’s education and safety course.   

Usually, passers receive temporary boater cards at first. These cards work like the actual boating licenses but can only be used within a given timeframe. Typically, they expire after 90 days from the date of issuance. Permanent boating licenses will be given to them around 60 days after passing the exam. Contact your boat course provider if you’re expecting your boating license but have not received one within the given schedule.

4. Always Carry Your Boater Card

Whenever you’re on board, make sure that you have your boater card. As you may have learned in your course, non-carrying boater cards could result in fines. In the same way, you should also carry your temporary boater’s card in the 90-day window. During this time, you may also need to bring with you your certificate of boat course completion as a supporting document.   

Boating officers ask for identifications during random inspections. Aside from these documents, one thing that you should keep you with is your boat registration. Having all of these means that you’re completely legal to operate your boat into the open.

Final Thoughts

A boating license is necessary before a person can legally operate a boat. To secure this, many beginners enroll in boat education and safety courses. These provide them with the basic knowledge and skills needed to control boats. In addition, these courses tackle the state boating rules and laws. Collectively, these comprise the content of the license exam.

While boating licenses or boater cards have vast similarities, states still have different ways and requirements in obtaining these. Hence, applicants should conduct earlier research about their state’s requirements and other essentials before enrolling in boating education and safety course. Suppose you’re planning to have your boating license to kick-start you’re boating lifestyle. Luckily for you, this guide contains the steps and points to help you obtain your boating license.

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