How to get a boating license in Florida

One of the most popular recreational activities in Florida is boating, and if you’re thinking about buying a boat or renting one and going out on the water to enjoy some fun in the sun, you may be wondering if you need a boating license and how to get a boating license. The truth is that you do not need a boating license in the state of Florida, but depending on your age, you do need to pass a boating safety course and have the appropriate certificate or card in your possession, along with a valid photo ID.

Who Needs a Boating Certification?

According to a law that took effect on January 1, 2010, if you were born on or after January 1, 1988, you need to have a boating certification from the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) if you live in Florida in order to operate any boating vehicle with 10 horsepower or more. If you are not a resident of Florida, you need to show proof of passing an equivalent course. A photo ID is also required when presenting the certificate or card.

Do Individuals Who Were Born Before January 1, 1988 Need a Certificate?

Individuals who were born before January 1, 1988 do not need a license or a certificate in order to operate a boat in Florida, but they do need a valid photo ID. However, it may still be a good idea for these individuals to take a boating safety course so that they are familiar with the best boating practices and all applicable boating laws. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has a guide on Boating Regulations.

What is a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) Boating Safety Course?

A National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) Boating Safety Course is an educational course offered to boat owners and those who rent or want to rent or use a boat for recreational purposes. The NASBLA provides standards for boating safety educational courses in all 50 states, not just Florida. In order to take a boating safety course, you must find a provider, pay any applicable fees, take the course and pass it. Once the test has been passed, a certificate will be issued. However, it is also important to apply for the boating safety card after receiving the certificate.

What Are the Exemptions to the Boating Safety Course Requirement other than Being Born Before Jan. 1, 1988?

Individuals who purchased a boat within 90 days of operating it are exempt from the requirement, providing they have a bill of sale aboard the ship that is readily available for inspection and meets all the requirements of the Florida Statutes Chapter 328.46(1).

  • For those born on or after January 1, 1988, they are considered exempt if:
  • They are licensed as the master of a vessel by the US Coast Guard.
  • The individual is operating the vehicles on a private lake or pond.
  • The individual is accompanied by a person who is 18 years of age who has a safety certificate and is responsible for the boat.
  • The individual has a safety card from another state that meets or exceeds NASBLA boating safety course requirements.
  • The individual has a temporary safety card.

How to Get a Temporary Boating Safety Card

If the individual is visiting Florida from another state and wishes to go boating via renting a boat but does not have a safety certificate or card and has not taken an approved safety course, they can apply for a Temporary Boating Safety Card. Getting the temporary safety card involves taking a 25 question test. The questions are randomly pulled from a large test bank of questions. If the individual passes the test, they will receive an electronic certification card that is valid for 90 days.

Getting Boating Insurance with Fearnow

If you’ve recently purchased a boat, it’s a good idea to get boat insurance in order to protect your investment. Boating insurance can be purchased for power, sail and houseboats, bass and fishing boats, pontoon boats and other types of personal watercraft. Boating insurance includes bodily injury and property damage liability if someone accidentally gets injured on your boat or has their property damaged. It also includes comprehensive, collision and under and uninsured boating coverage. Here at Fearnow, we also offer additional coverages, including total loss, water towing, mechanical breakdown, small and large accident forgiveness and full coverage for carry-on items as well as fishing equipment.

To learn more about our boating coverage options and get a no-obligation quote for boating insurance, give us a call today at 813-689-8878.