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Course Instructions and Features


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 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 a certificate free of charge.
  • The 75 multiple choice questions offered in this course 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.

Special note--As of 01/01/2001 all Oregon residents must take this 75 question Oregon boating safety course to have their test results accepted by the Oregon State Marine Board.

If you have problems with the course, contact BoatU.S. at:
onlinecourse@boatus.com or at (800) 336-2628 between 9AM and 5PM EST.
Do not contact the Oregon State Marine Board, as they do not maintain the course.

  • This course is a teaching course. 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 button. If you feel you do not need advance preparation, you may just begin the course.
  • At the end of each study section, there is a short quiz to help you see what the exam questions will be like.
  • A glossary is also available to help you with nautical terms, while you are in the study section.


  • The test, if taken at one time, takes approximately one hour to one and a half hours to complete.
  • This course 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 course 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 course 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.
  • For those internet-savvy users out there, our course contains cookies. These cookies are used ONLY to track your randomized selection of questions in the event you choose to leave the course. 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 cookie trail we are concerned with.
  • 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 BoatUS 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 course at the start of the season is a great way to pass the time and brush up on your skills.

Take your time and enjoy the course!

To receive the Oregon State Boating certificate that is issued by the Oregon State Marine Board, you must fill out a state application form and mail it to the Marine Board along with a copy of the BoatU.S. certificate. The State application and instructions are available below in .pdf format, or you may visit the Oregon State Marine Board web site at http://www.marinebd.osmb.state.or.us/

Boater Education Application Form Directions - PDF

Oregon Boater Education Card Form - PDF

Adobe Acrobat Reader necessary to view above .PDF files.

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