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South Carolina Boating License

South Carolina Boating License

In South Carolina, a boating "license" is known as a Boater Education Certificate. Boating safety certification is required by law for South Carolina boaters who are under 16 years of age. Even if it's not required for you, becoming certified by completing a boating safety education course is strongly encouraged.

Your Boating License

If you're under 16 years old, your South Carolina Boater Education Certificate will allow you to operate a boat or personal watercraft with a motor greater than 15 horsepower on your own on South Carolina waters.

How to Obtain Your Boat Operator's Certification in South Carolina

You can earn your South Carolina Boater Education Certificate by successfully completing the boating safety education course in one of three ways:

  • Upon successfully completing a free classroom course, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) will mail you your wallet-sized certificate.

  • Upon successfully completing an online course, SCDNR will be notified and your Boater's card will come to you in the mail.

  • Upon completing the Home-Study Video Course, you will mail in your test along with the fee and if you pass, your card will be mailed to you.

Please verify the costs associated with the online course and the home-study video course before choosing the method that works best for you.

Click here to see an overview of the course content.

If You Lose your Boating Safety Certificate

If you lose your boater education certificate, you can print a duplicate online at no cost.

Click here to get your duplicate card now.


South Carolina 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 South Carolina Boat Operatorís Card / Certification.

NOTE: Since some states require all boat operators to carry proof of having passed a NASBLA approved boating course and since the South Carolina-issued card never expires, you might want to keep your card regardless of your age.