|Illinois Boating License
Illinois Boating License
If you are at least 12 and not yet 18 years old, you must successfully complete an approved Boater Safety Education Course before obtaining a Boater's Card in Illinois. Boating Education Cards are issued by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Click Here for Illinois' Boating Education Course Requirements.
Anyone who is 18 years of age or older is not required to carry proof of completing the Boating Education Requirement.
Your Boating License
Although it gives you “license” to legally operate a boat on Illinois waters, the boater's card is not considered a boating license because it never expires. Nevertheless, you are required to carry it with you anytime you are operating a motorboat on Illinois waters.
NOTE: Since some states require all boat operators to carry proof of having passed a NASBLA approved boating course and since the Illinois-issued card never expires, you might want to keep your card regardless of your age.
How to Obtain Your Boat Operator's Certification in Illinois
Upon completing an approved online course and paying the appropriate course fee, if any, you'll be able to print a temporary certificate on the spot. This certificate will allow you to operate a vessel legally on Illinois waters until you receive your permanent card.
If you opt to take the classroom course, you will receive proof of successful completion as soon as your final exam has been completed with no less than 80% accuracy.
Regardless of how you meet the course requirement, your permanent card will be mailed to you within a few days. Remember to always carry your card with you when operating a motorboat on Illinois waters.
If You Lose your Boat Operator's Certificate /License
A replacement Boater's Education Card is available for $10.00 if you took the course online. Please mail your request including your name, date of birth and address along with the fee to:
You may call Customer Service to request your replacement card and pay for it by credit card.
Office hours are 8:30 to 5:30 Central Time, Monday through Friday, with extended hours during late spring and summer season.
Illinois accepts Licenses / Certificates / Cards issued by those states whose courses meet the minimum requirements set by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). Most states with a mandatory boater education requirement will accept a Illinois Boat Operator’s Card / Certification.