When you first get a boat, it’s tempting to immediately jump into the waters. However, before you can set sail, you’ll need to get a boating license.
The short answer is—yes, in most cases, you will need a boating license. Most states require that boat owners have a license to operate in their waters which in some cases also requires that you take a class on boat operations.
Some states offer an exception in that only those 12-15 require a boating license, and all boaters operating a boat with ten horsepower or greater will need a license. The requirements vary slightly by state, but you should expect to need a boating license before you set your boat in the water.
Why Boat Licenses Matter
Boat licenses might seem redundant to many people, but they serve an important purpose: registration. First off, most of the smuggling operations happening today go through the waters. While larger operations primarily happen on freight ships, many small boats have been caught smuggling good in from out of the country. A boating license is recognized by the Coast Guard, letting them know that you know what you are doing.
A boater’s license also proves that you know what you are doing out at sea. This means you can carry more responsibility in the eyes of law enforcement and are thus responsible for the wellbeing of other boaters, as well, similar to a driver’s license. Without the license, if you have an accident, boating insurance might not pay out, and you could be blamed for the accident.
How Do I Get a Boating License
It’s very easy to get a boating license. Boat-ed is the official licensing administration for all boating licenses across the states. Furthermore, the license doesn’t expire, and you can use it anywhere in the 50 states once you have it. All it takes is a short online course with a small fee to complete, and then you’re ready to go boating! Contact us to learn more.