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Ohio Boating Courses
Safety Education Requirements

If you were born after 1981 and you operate a boat with a motor that has more than 10 horsepower, Ohio law requires you to successfully complete a boater safety education course or a proficiency exam approved by the Ohio Division of Watercraft.

Age and Education Requirements

  • If you are under 12 you may not operate a boat with a horsepower greater than 10.
  • If you are between 12 and 15, you must have your boater education certificate AND you must also have a supervising adult on board.
  • If you are 16 or older, you may operate a boat alone in Ohio as long as you've successfully completed the mandatory boating safety education requirement.
  • Exceptions:

    The Boating Education Requirement is Waived for:

    • Boaters born before January 1, 1982.
    • Operators who hold a certificate from another state, as long as the certificate was earned by successfully completing a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) approved boater safety course.

    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.
    • Ohio'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 Ohio.

    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 Ohio, 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.