BoatU.S. Foundation Online Course 1 - 2 - 3

  1. Review your state's mandatory education requirement - click here then click on your state.
  2. Read through the boating safety materials in our Online Course Study Topics - click here.
  3. Take the Final Exam - click here then click "Go to Exam Now" at the bottom the page.

Reprinting Your Certificate

Yes, if you need to reprint your certificate after having successfully completed the Online Course, you can do so from any computer with a printer and Internet access.

  1. Return to the BoatUS Foundation's Online Course home page,
  2. Click the option that says "Reprint Certificate" and select the course you took from the list that appears on your screen. It is important that you chose the correct test before logging in or you will not have the option to reprint a certificate from another course.
  3. On the login screen that comes up next, you will need to enter your email address and first name exactly as they were entered when you completed the test.
  4. After logging in, you will see your personal information. Verify that this is all correct (you can click "Make Changes" to edit any of the information here)
  5. At the bottom of the screen with your personal information there will be an option that says "Get Previous Certificate". Important: If you do not see this option you may have chosen the wrong course in step 2 above. If you are certain that you selected the correct course, double-check you email address and first name for errors and try again.
  6. On the next page, click on "Certificate Options" Important: If you live in Florida, Oregon or Washongton, you will need to fill out an additional form to get your state boating card, on this page you will see links for all three states. Before click "Certificate Options," click on your state to open a new window with more infromation and instructions on obtaining your state card.
  7. Next, click on the button that says "Continue"
  8. On this last screen you will have the option of printing your certificate on your own printer, or you can ask the Foundation to send you a copy of your certificate for a $5 fee. To print your certificate yourself, click on "Print Certificate" to bring up the certificate screen. In Internet Explorer, click the printer icon to print the page.


The BoatU.S. Foundation acknowledged in 1996 that there was a need for using the internet to deliver a free boating safety course to a segment of the public that was not being reached by traditional courses. After investing several thousand hours and dollars for development, the Online Boating Safety Course was launched to the public in April 1997. Designed to provide a basic overview of survival skills on the water, we encourage all boaters to continue their boating safety education through in-depth classroom courses.


  • This course is approved by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators and recognized by the US Coast Guard. The course  meets and exceeds their defined minimum education standards. Most insurance companies offer education discounts for courses that are NASBLA approved and USCG recognized.
  • This course is offered FREE of charge. Upon successful completion of the test with a score of 80% or better, you may request a certificate be sent to you for a fee of $5.00, OR you may print out your own certificate free of charge.
  • The 75 multiple choice questions offered in this test are randomly generated from a large pool of questions after you complete the registration form. A new test will be generated each time you opt to take a new test.
  • This test is a teaching test. If you choose the wrong answer, it will explain why your answer is wrong and offer you the correct answer.
  • You may receive 10 or more multiple choice questions from the boating office of the state in which you boat. While not all states accept the on-line course, most have provided questions pertaining to the boating conditions in their state. You will need to contact your state's boating office to determine whether our course fulfills any mandatory education requirements.
  • This course is designed for the novice and the experienced boater. We recommend you study topics you may be unfamiliar with in advance. To do so, click on the Study Topics link. If you feel you do not need advance preparation, you may just begin the exam.
  • A glossary is available to help you with nautical terms.


  • This test will evaluate your knowledge of boating safety and teach you as you proceed.
  • You will have the opportunity to answer each question once to receive credit for that question. If you choose the incorrect answer, the correct answer will be shown at that time.
  • You may take the test as often as necessary to pass.
  • If you wish to leave the test, your score will automatically be saved. Your test is saved under your first name and email address. Be careful to type in exactly what you entered the first time you registered.
  • Those who pass the test and receive their certificate will not be eligible for additional certificates for one year. At that point you may return and test your knowledge again. You may take the test as often as necessary to pass, however.
  • Please feel free to fill out the comment form at the conclusion of the test. The comments of test users helps us fix problems and add new features that are beneficial to future test takers.
  • Our test contains cookies. These cookies are used ONLY to track your randomized selection of questions in the event you choose to leave the test. When you return, the cookie can tell the database exactly which questions you were offered, in what order, and where you left off (and your score, of course). That is the ONLY purpose for cookies.
  • All personal information is kept on servers that are off-line, and on a private network. These servers are not accessible over the internet--you must be directly connected to the network to access the information. While no security system is perfect, having your information stored off-line offers an extremely high level of security for your personal information.
  • If you do chose to "leave and return later", your initial question will not show your current score. You must answer at least one question to generate an up to date score.


This course is a general overview of the basics in boating safety, requirements, navigation, and operation. This course is not intended to replace the in-depth training a formal classroom course will provide, but instead to give you a new avenue to access important educational information. The BoatU.S. Foundation encourages you to sign up for one of the US Power Squadron or US Coast Guard Auxiliary or state courses available through the Foundation Courseline.

Remember, laws and rules change, and it is easy to forget the numerous requirements and rules that boating has. Taking a refresher test at the start of the season is a great way to pass the time and brush up on your skills.

Question Review

While taking the test, you will be presented with 50 questions, similar to the following examples. You will also receive 15 questions dealing with the boating laws used by your state.

Please review the following questions to familiarize yourself with the question format, and also review the study topics prior to taking the test.

All questions are multiple choice and have four answers to choose from.

Sample Question 1:

If you see a boat off your boat's starboard beam, you are seeing it:
  1. straight out from the middle of your boat's left side.
  2. straight ahead of your boat.
  3. straight out from the middle of your boat's right side.
  4. in your boat's danger zone.

In the above question, there are four distinct (a,b,c,d) possible answers, so you must choose which of the five answers is the BEST choice. In this question, only "c" is correct, so "c" is your BEST choice.

Take your time and enjoy the course!

Special Thanks…

This free test was funded and administered by the BoatU.S. Foundation and authored by the
National Safe Boating Council (NSBC).

We have been honored to receive editorial reviews from
Mack Maloney, Author of CHAPMAN'S PILOTING and John Bonds, US. Sailing.

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