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Boating License vs Boat Registration

Some states require boaters to take a boating license test or to complete a boating safety course before operating a motorized vessel on state waterways. However, it's important to understand that taking a test to get your boating license is different from the process of registering your boat.

When you pass a state-approved online boating license test or classroom boating license exam, most states will issue you a boating safety identification card. Your boat registration, on the other hand, helps to identify your boat -- much like the license plate on the vehicle you drive.

Regardless of the requirements in your state, it remains your responsibility to know and follow all state boating laws in order to protect you, your family, and everyone else who uses our nation's waterways. The one way to make sure you are up-to-date on your state's specific boating laws and regulations is to get your boat license by taking a boating license test.

Online Boating License Advantages

The biggest advantage of taking a boating license test is learning how to safely and responsibly operate a boat. What's even better is that you can take a boaters license course online from home. This makes the process easy and convenient, but there are other online boating license advantages.

  • Most state boat license test materials cover important topics such as required safety equipment, navigation rules, marker buoys, trailering, and launching. Knowing all of the safe boating basics will help you become a safer, more responsible boater.
  • Some boat insurance companies offer discounts to individuals who have passed a boater safety course.
  • Increased level of confidence as a result of learning and knowing the boating rules of the road.

Boating License Resources

If you want to get your boating license online, there are resources available to help you learn the boating laws and regulations before you take the exam. Some state agencies provide videos for you to watch, study guides for you to read, and free practice exams for you to take. These resources help to make the process simple and easy.

Aside from taking an online boating safety course, you can learn about boating safety in a classroom setting as well. Volunteer organizations like the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron provide classroom courses that you can take. Whether you decide to take a boating license test online or in a classroom, it's well worth the investment of your time. The more you learn about boat safety, the more relaxing and fun your days on the water will be.