Are you excited to operate a boat in Florida, but don’t know how to get a Florida boating license?

It isn’t optional. According to the US Coast Guard, 77% of boating deaths are caused by operators with no instruction.

Once you understand the process, it is easy to be certified.

Let’s jump in!

The truth about getting a Florida boating license

Despite what you may have heard, there is no such thing as a Florida boating license.

Different states have different requirements, and the Florida requirement isn’t a license. Instead, you’ll need what’s known as a “Boater Education Card.”

This card certifies completion of a course educating you on how to safely operate a boat in Florida.

In just a minute, I’ll explain how to take a course and what that course entails. But first, let’s see if you need a card at all.

Who needs a Boater Education Card?

According to Florida law, you’ll only need a boater education card if you’re born on or after January 1st, 1988.

To get the card, you can’t be under 14 years old, since you won’t be able to operate a boat in Florida at this age.

There are a few other exceptions to who needs this certification. You don’t need a card if:

  • You have a license from the Coast Guard, another US state, or Canada
  • You’re operating on a private lake or pond
  • You’re operating with someone else with a card
  • You’re operating a boat 90 days after buying it and can provide documentation for the sale

How to take a Florida boating safety course

To get an education card, you’ll need to take a course in boating safety. The Boater Education Card is valid for life, so you’ll only need to take the course one time.

No matter where you take the course, it will consist of a series of training. This may be in person, through written text, or through video, depending on the type of training you take.

At the end of the training, you’ll be given a test. You must answer 80% of the questions correctly to pass. With appropriate study, this score shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish.

Where to take a boating safety course

The courses are offered in different locations by different organizations. You can also take this course online or through self-study.

You can take the courses in person through the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and US Power Squadron.

If you’re interested, you can also take the courses through a nontraditional method, like online studying. Online courses can be as inexpensive as $20, and you can print a card immediately after completing the course.

To view all options for taking the course, you can read the list on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website.

As you’ve learned, there actually isn’t such thing as a Florida boating license. Instead, some individuals will need a Boater Education Card, which is proof of taking a course on boating safety in Florida.

Now get out there, take your boat off the lift, and start boating!