Do you need a Florida boating license?

When 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 Florida boating laws. This roundup of Florida boating laws and information will help you head in the right direction.

Do you need a Florida Boating License or a Boating Safety Card?

The answer is that Florida doesn’t need a boating license, but it does require boating safety identification. The Florida Boating Safety Education Card is proof of successful completion of the Boating Safety Education requirements and is valid for life. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Florida law requires anyone born on or after January 1, 1988 to complete an approved boating safety course and earn one to run a ten-power motorboat PS or more to operate. Boat safety education card issued by the FWC.

Boating Safety Education Card against Florida Boat Registration

Note that a boat education card is different from your Florida boat registration. Your boat registration is used as documentation or proof that your boat is yours and that it is a legal vessel available on state waterways. The fees you pay when you register your boat help the state conserve its natural aquatic resources and maintain boat ramps, public piers and clean waterways.

Take a boat safety course

To get your boating license in Florida, you must take a boating safety course (either online or in the classroom) and successfully pass the course. If you are enrolling for an FWC-approved boat safety course, check with the course provider to see if your exam results are automatically sent to the FWC or if you need to show them to the FWC to issue your boat safety card.

Read the Florida Boating License Study Guide

If you are learning how to operate a boat and would like to read a Florida Boating License Guide, obtain a copy of the Florida Boater’s Guide: A Guide to Boating Laws and Responsibilities. The Florida Boater’s Guide is the official boating guide developed for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The guide introduces you to Florida boating laws and provides general information about safely operating a boat on Florida waterways.

Now you have the answer to the question, “Do you need a Florida boating license?”. You don’t need a Florida boating license per se, but you must complete an FWC-approved boating safety course and obtain your boating safety badge if you were born on or after January 1, 1988. If you are planning to go don’t forget that you will also need a Florida fishing license.


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