How I Got My Boating License in Less Than 6 Hours Online

Written by Don P on . Posted in Challenge #7

(Reading time: 3 - 6 minutes)
DonDoes30.com - Do You Lift Nah I Got a Boat

Boating has been cool ever since a loose-knit group of explorers (and raiders), known as the Vikings, built huge ships, threw on their horned helmets, brushed their long red beards, and sailed from land to land to slaughter the largest animals they could find using swords weighing as much as a Volkswagen — and those were only the Viking women I described.

Even modern day supervillains from movies, video games and comic books have giant floating lairs armed with lasers, rocket launchers, and machine guns, and come equipped with an insane amount of protection and escape pods.

So let's face it: boats are fucking awesome and the process in which to get licensed is ridiculously simple. In most cases, you can take the final exam as many times as you need to pass! Keep in mind, though, some states don't even require a license so check your state laws below before applying.

The Process and Cost

In less than six hours of taking an online course and exam, I'm able to sail off into the distance with seemingly little regulation in regards to boat size (small dingy up to MEGA YACHT), speed (row boat up to CIGARETTE BOAT), or seaworthiness (dilapidated canoe up to FORTRESS OF STEEL).

DonDoes30.com - Hot Tub Boat Or this floating staph infection, perhaps

All I had to do was sit through several presentations broken up into nine "chapters", take chapter quizzes at the end of each, and then pass a final cumulative exam. The cost: $35. Not too bad.

The course explains boat terms, safety guidelines, federal laws, equipment requirements, and basic operations. The last chapter is reserved for state specific regulations in which the boat is registered or operated.

Truth be told, I don't need a license here in Florida, but thirteen years have past since the last time I've been behind the wheel of a boat and wanted the refresher.

State Requirements

StateWho Needs a License?
AlabamaPersons at least 12 years old who operate a motorized boat in Alabama.
AlaskaCheck your state laws.
ArizonaArizona does not require a card. You can take this course to save on insurance or to boat in states that require a card.
ArkansasAnyone born after Dec. 31, 1985, and of legal age to operate a motorboat or sailboat in Arkansas.
CaliforniaCalifornia does not require a card. You can take this course to save on insurance or to boat in states that require a card.
ColoradoPersons 14 or 15 years old who operate a motorized vessel in Colorado.
Connecticuthttp://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2686&q=384522&depNav_GID=1620
DelawareAnyone born after Dec. 31, 1977, who operates a motorized vessel in Delaware.
FloridaAnyone born after Dec. 31, 1987, who operates a motorized boat or PWC of 10 hp or more in Florida.
GeorgiaAnyone born after Jan. 1, 1998, who operates a motorized vessel in Georgia.
Hawaiihttp://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dobor/
IdahoIdaho does not require a card, but some counties might. Even if you don’t need a card, you can take this course to save on insurance or to boat in states that require a card.
IllinoisPersons between 12 and 17 years old who operate a powered boat or PWC in Illinois.
IndianaPersons at least 15 years old who operate a motorboat or PWC but do not have an Indiana driver’s license.
IowaPersons 12 to 17 years old who operate a motorized vessel over 10 hp in Iowa.
KansasPersons between 12 and 20 years old who are unaccompanied and operate a PWC, powerboat, or sailboat in Kansas.
KentuckyPersons 12 to 17 years old who are unaccompanied and operate a motorized vessel over 10 hp in Kentucky.
LouisianaAnyone born after Jan. 1, 1984, who operates a motorboat or PWC over 10 hp in Louisiana.
Mainehttp://www.maine.gov/ifw/atv_snowmobile_watercraft/registration.htm#watercraft
MarylandAnyone born after June 30, 1972, who operates a boat or PWC in Maryland.
Massachusettshttp://www.boat-ed.com/massachusetts/handbook/
MichiganBoaters born after June 30, 1996, and most PWC operators, who operate a vessel in Michigan.
MinnesotaPersons 12 to 17 years old who are unsupervised and operate a boat over 25 hp in Minnesota. Persons 14 to 17 years old who are unsupervised and operate a PWC.
MississippiAnyone born after June 30, 1980, who operates a boat or PWC in Mississippi.
MissouriAnyone born after Jan. 1, 1984, who operates a vessel on any Missouri lake.
MontanaPersons 13 and 14 years old who operate a motorboat or PWC over 10 hp in Montana.
Nebraskahttp://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/boating/
NevadaAnyone born after Dec. 1, 1982, who operates a vessel over 15 hp in Nevada.
New HampshirePersons at least 16 years old who operate a motorboat over 25 hp or a ski craft in New Hampshire.
New JerseyAnyone who operates a motorized vessel in New Jersey.
New MexicoAnyone born after Dec. 31, 1988, who operates a motorboat in New Mexico.
New YorkCheck your state laws
North CarolinaAnyone born after Dec. 31, 1987, who operates a boat or PWC of 10 hp or more in North Carolina.
North DakotaPersons 12 to 15 years old who are unaccompanied and operate a boat or PWC of 10 hp or more in North Dakota.
OhioAnyone born after Dec. 31, 1981, who operates a boat or PWC over 10 hp in Ohio.
OklahomaPersons 12 to 15 years old who operate a boat or PWC over 10 hp or a sailboat 16 feet or longer in Oklahoma.
OregonAnyone who operates a vessel over 10 hp in Oregon.
PennsylvaniaAnyone who operates a PWC in Pennsylvania. Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1981, who operates a boat over 25 hp.
Rhode Islandhttps://www.boat-ed.com/rhodeisland/
South CarolinaPersons under 16 years old who are unaccompanied and operate a boat or PWC of 15 hp or more in South Carolina.
South DakotaSouth Dakota does not require a card. You can take this course to save on insurance or to boat in states that require a card.
TennesseeAnyone born after Jan. 1, 1989, who operates a motorized vessel over 8.5 hp in Tennessee.
TexasAnyone born after Aug. 31, 1993, who operates a boat over 15 hp, a PWC, or a sailboat over 14 feet long in Texas.
UtahPersons 12 to 17 years old who operate a PWC in Utah.
VermontAnyone born after Jan. 1, 1974, who operates a motorized vessel in Vermont.
VirginiaAnyone who operates a PWC and anyone under 46 years old who operates a motorboat in Virginia.
WashingtonAnyone born after Dec. 31, 1954, who operates a PWC or boat of 15 hp or more in Washington.
West VirginiaAnyone born after Dec. 30, 1986, who operates a motorboat or PWC in West Virginia.
WisconsinAnyone born after Dec. 31, 1988, who operates a motorboat or PWC in Wisconsin.
Wyominghttp://wgfd.wyo.gov/web2011/home.aspx

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