Boating is one of the best ways to disconnect from the stress and noise of city life and recharge your batteries. Although it may seem like a simple and straightforward activity, there are plenty of things that can go wrong for which you should be prepared. Getting a boating license does not only provide you with the knowledge you need, but it’s also mandatory in more than 40 states. Here is how you can get one.
What Is a Boating License and Why You Need It
To make sure that everyone’s boating experience is as safe and pleasant as possible, most U.S. states require a boating license. It plays an important role, as it proves that the holder is aware of both local boating laws and general safety measures. Also called a boater education certificate, it is issued by the local authorities after completing a boating safety course.
Even if you live in one of the few states that doesn’t require such a license, you should still consider getting one for two reasons. First of all, the information acquired during the course is extremely useful and can make a considerable difference in a potentially dangerous situation. The second reason is that if you’re passionate about boating, you’re likely to venture into waters that belong to other states that do require a license.
Getting Your Boating License
Image via Flickr by Bengt Nyman
Every state has slightly different rules when it comes to boating safety, but the fundamentals are similar. The minimum age is usually lower than for drivers, with most states allowing adult-supervised boating from the age of 12. The test is conducted online and can be taken from anywhere except your home residence. You will also need a supervisor who is older than 18 to act as a witness.
Once you have registered online and paid a fee of roughly $50 plus taxes, you can take the exam in the company of your supervisor. If you pass, you will receive a temporary card that proves you have passed the boating license test, while the permanent card will arrive in the mail two weeks later.
Once you have worked through the training material, which you can obtain from your state’s boating authority, you are ready to take the test. The exam itself consists of 36 general safety questions that deal with best practices when boating, as well as steps to take during emergency situations. To pass, you must answer at least 27 questions correctly within the 45-minute time limit. If you fail, you’re able to retake the test daily, and for free, until you pass. Several websites and apps are available where you can find practice questions to assist you in your preparation.
Spending a summer’s day on a boat is one of the most fun and relaxing activities you can do, but a great day can quickly turn sour if you’re not properly educated on how to deal with certain situations. A boating license teaches you all of that and prepares you for a lifetime of exciting water adventures.