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Mississippi Boating Courses
Safety Education Requirements

Age and Education Requirements

To operate a vessel legally in Mississippi, all persons born after June 30, 1980 must successfully complete a boating education course approved by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MSDWFP) and Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MSDMR).

There is no minimum age requirement for when you can take the course, however; Mississippi state law requires boaters under 12 years of age to be accompanied by an adult at least 21 years of age, regardless of having completed the course.


The Boating Education Requirement is Waived for:

  • Boaters born before July 1, 1980
  • Non-residents born after June 30, 1980, who hold an approved Boater Education Card / Certificate from another state.

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.
  • Mississippi'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. For more information related to Boating and Boating Safety Classes, call 601-432-2181 or write to: Boating Enforcement, P. O. Box 451, Jackson, MS 39205-0451.

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 Mississippi, 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.