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Kentucky Boating Courses
Safety Education Requirements

Age and Education Requirements

In Kentucky, no one under the age of 12 is permitted to operate a water vessel with a horsepower greater than 10. Therefore, the course is not available to children under 12 years old.

Kentucky state law requires boaters ages 12 to 17 to carry a Boater's Safety Education Certificate while operating a motorboat on Kentucky waters. The certificate is earned by successfully completing an approved Boating Safety Course.


The Boating Education Requirement is Waived for:

  • Boaters 18 and older
  • Operators who are 12 – 17 years old if they are accompanied by an adult or another boater who holds a Boating Safety Education Certificate.

We strongly advise all boaters of all ages to take boating safety courses throughout their years of boating.

The Course

You can find many boaters’ education classes online. It's important that the course you choose meets the minimum standards set by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).

These standards include but are not limited to:

  • Getting to Know Your Boat: Understanding Boat Capacities and Registration Requirements
  • Boat Safety Equipment: Personal Flotation Devices, Lighting, Distress Signals, Fire Extinguishers, etc.
  • Trip Planning and Preparation: Preventative Maintenance, Checking Hazards, Filing a Float Plan
  • The Marine Environment: Pollution Laws and Ways to Protect our Waterways
  • Safe Boat Operation: Operator Responsibilities, Navigation Rules and Aids,
  • Emergency Preparedness: Rendering Assistance, Handling Emergencies, Legal Responsibilities
  • Other Water Activities: Water Skiing, Fishing, Hunting etc.
  • Kentucky's Boating Laws

Six to 13 lessons / units comprise most of the online boating courses. At the end of each lesson, a quiz is given. You must pass the quiz with a minimum score of 70% before going to the next unit.

You can also take the course in a classroom setting. Click Here for a current schedule of classes offered in Kentucky.

You must pass a final exam with a score of 80% or higher to receive the required boater's safety certificate.

Once you’ve successfully completed the Boating Safety Education Exam you must get your Certificate. To find out how click Vessel Operator's Certificate.

Continuing Education

As a boat operator you have a responsibility to keep up-to-date with new boating laws and safety information. In addition to knowing the changes in Kentucky, you must also be aware of the rules in the states where you plan on boating. A data base of all courses approved by NASBLA can be found here.

Skills-based and/or advanced courses involving navigation, piloting, etc., are also available.