If you’re ready to explore Florida’s waterways by boat, it’s important to find out if you need a Florida boating license and learn about the Florida boating laws. This summary of Florida boating laws and information will help point you in the right direction.
Do you need a boat license in Florida or a boating safety card?
The answer is that Florida does not require a boating license, but does require a boating safety education identification card. The Florida boating safety education card is proof of successful completion of the boating safety educational requirements and is valid for life. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), in order to operate a motorboat of ten horsepower or greater, Florida law requires anyone who was born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 to complete an approved boating safety course and earn a boating safety education identification card that is issued by the FWC.
Boating Safety Education Card vs Florida Boat Registration
Know that a boating safety education card is different from your Florida boat registration. Your boat registration serves as documentation or proof that your boat belongs to you and that it’s a legal vessel to have on state waterways. The fees you pay when registering your boat go toward helping the state take care of its natural aquatic resources as well as maintaining boat ramps, public piers and clean waterways.
Take a Boating Safety Course
In order to get your boating license in Florida, you will need to take a boating safety course (either online or in a classroom setting) and pass the course successfully. When signing up to take an FWC-approved boating safety course, check with the course provider to see if your exam results will be automatically provided to FWC, or if you will need to submit them for FWC to issue your boating safety card.
Read the Florida Boating License Study Guide
If you are learning how to boat and want to read a Florida boating license study guide, you can get a copy of The Florida Boater’s Guide: A Handbook of Boating Laws and Responsibilities. The Florida Boater’s Guide is the official boating handbook that was developed for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The handbook introduces you to Florida laws governing boating and provides general information about safe vessel operation on Florida waterways.
Now you have the answer to the question, “Do you need a boat license in Florida?”. You don’t need a Florida boating license per se, but you do need to complete an FWC approved boating safety course and obtain your boating safety education identification card if you were born on or after Jan. 1, 1988. If you plan to go fishing from a boat, don’t forget that you’ll also need a Florida fishing license.