Washington Boating Education Law


For more information on the boating laws in the state of Washington visit: www.parks.wa.gov

Mandatory Education and Age Requirements:

Education Requirements

    Mandatory Boater Education

    To operator a motor driven boat of 15 horsepower or greater, a person must be at least twelve years of age or older and complete a boating safety course that is accepted by both Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.

    Beginning January 1, 2008 and as phased in by age, boat operators 12 years of age or older, on boats with 15 HP or more, are required to have a Washington State issued Boater Education Card indicating that a boating safety education class or equivalency exam has been successfully completed by the card holder. By January 1, 2016, all boat operators meeting the requirements must have an education card. To get your card, fill out this application (click to download) and send it along with a copy of your certificate of course completion to Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission.

    Exemption: persons who have a U.S Coast Guard vessel operator's license, or persons visiting Washington State.

    Mandatory boater safety education will be phased in as follows:

    • January 1, 2008 All boat operators twenty years old and younger;
    • January 1, 2009 All boat operators twenty-five years old and younger;
    • January 1, 2010 All boat operators thirty years old and younger;
    • January 1, 2011 All boat operators thirty-five years old and younger;
    • January 1, 2012 All boat operators forty years old and younger;
    • January 1, 2013 All boat operators fifty years old and younger;
    • January 1, 2014 All boat operators sixty years old and younger;
    • January 1, 2015 All boat operators who are required to have a card will be phased in.
    • All boat operators born before 1/1/1955 will not be required to have a boat operator education card.

    Age/Horsepower Restrictions

    • No person under 12 years of age can operate a motorboat of 15 or more horsepower.
    • Persons who do not have a boater education card and are 12 years of age or up can operate a vessel with more that 15 HP if accompanied by and under the direct supervision of a person 16 years of age who has a boater education card.

    Boat Rental Requirements

    • Beginning January 1, 2008, those operators who are required to have a boating education card and wanting to rent a vessel, must present the card to livery (rental) operators. If the person, required to have a boating education card, does not have a boating education card, the livery operator must complete an operation and safety checklist with the vessel renter prior to the renter being allowed to use the vessel on the water.

We provide this information as a service and strive to keep this website up to date. Please let us know of any inconsistencies by bringing them to our attention at once at onlinecourse@boatus.com. Resources for these pages include state statutes, state web pages and state approved boating guides. BoatU.S. is not responsible for any misinterpretation of the law or any change in the law that is not adequately reflected in these pages. Damages as a result of failing to abide by stated law shall not be the responsibility of BoatU.S., BoatU.S. Foundation or its employees.


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