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Boating Laws & License Requirements by State

Passing a boating safety course will give you a discount on boat insurance and will increase your water safety skills. Boat safety courses are an excellent investment of time and money, regardless of your state's boating law. Each state has unique boating education requirements, and the boating rules, laws and regulations vary from state to state for obtaining a boat license or safety certification. Be sure to review the full legal requirements for your particular state.

Laws By State Alaska Alabama Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming Rhode Island Pennsylvania
bullet Georgia
  Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Yes, state has mandatory boater education law that applies to some operators of boats and/or personal watercraft.

Those Less than 12 years of age:

May not operate any vessel over 16 feet in length.

May legally operate a vessel under 16 feet in length which is either non-motorized or powered by a motor of 30 horsepower or less only if they are accompanied by a competent adult.

Those 12 through 15 years of age:

May legally operate any vessel less than 16 feet in length, including a PWC only if they:

- Have passed a boat education course approved by the Department of Natural Resources, OR- Are accompanied by a competent adult

May not legally operate any vessel over 16 feet in length.

Those 16 years of age or older:

May operate any boat on the waters of Georgia if they have proper identification onboard

All operators born after January 1, 1998 must have passed a boater education course approved by the Department of Natural Resources and have card on board to operate any vessel.


  View the official Georgia state web site here.

States with mandatory boating law require safety certification for some or all boaters. Only one state (Alabama) requires an actual boat license. However, many prospective students are not aware of state legal terminology, and search for information about a boat license or licence, or a captain or captains license. This page is an excellent resource for boating law for all fifty states.