Boating Safety News

Official Florida Boating Safety Card

What is a Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card?

The Florida Boater Education ID Card is proof that a boater has successfully completed an approved Boating Safety Course. Boat operators who were born on or after January 1st, 1988 are required to get certified to legally operate a boat with a motor of 10 hp or more. 

Is the Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card the same as a Boating License?

A Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card is commonly referred to as a boating license however, this is incorrect. Unlike a license,  the Boating Safety Education ID Card does not expire and does not need to be renewed.

Who needs a Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card?

All boat operators who were born on or after January 1st, 1988 are required to complete a Boating Safety Course and obtain a Boating Safety Education ID card to legally operate a boating within the state.

Who is exempt from having to obtain a Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card?

  • A person licensed by the USCG as a master of a vessel.
  • A person operating exclusively on a private lake or pond.
  • An operator who is accompanied on board by a person who is at least 18 years old and who has obtained a Boating Safety Education ID Card, provided that the person is responsible for the safe operation of the boat.
  • A non-resident who has in their possession proof that he or she has completed a NASBLA-approved Boating Safety Course or equivalency examination from another state.
  • A person who is operating a boat within 90 days of purchasing the boat and has available for inspection, a bill of sale meeting Florida’s requirements.
  • A person operating a boat within 90 days after completing a NASBLA-approved Boating Safety Course, who has photo ID and a certificate showing proof of completion of a Boating Safety Course. The certificate must display the person’s first and last name, their date of birth and the date the course was completed.

What is the fine for not having the Card?

Boaters caught without a Boating Safety Education ID Card may receive a fine of up to $50 for a first offence, $250 for a second offence within 12 months of a prior conviction, $500 for a third offence within 36 months of a prior conviction, or $1000 for a fourth or subsequent offence.

How do I get a Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card?

You can obtain your official Boater Card from BOATsmart! in three steps:

  1. Take the BOATsmart! Florida Boating Safety Course online. 
  2. Pass the Florida Boating Safety Test online.
  3. Print a Temporary Boating Safety Certificate immediately.

Will my Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card ever expire?

No. Your Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card is good for life. However, it’s important to keep up-to-date with the most recent boating safety regulations. Be sure to take advantage of BOATsmart!’s free refresher lessons to be sure you’re aware of the rules that apply in your state.

How do I replace my Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card?

You can obtain a replacement Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card by contacting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission by email at bobbercard@myfwc.com. Be sure to include  your name, date of birth and address. Boaters can also contact the FWC by calling 850-488-5600.

Do I need a Driver’s License to operate a boat in Florida?

No. Boat operators in Florida do not need a driver’s license in order to operate a boat. However, operators who were born on or after January 1st, 1988 are required to obtain a Boating Safety Education ID Card to legally operate a boat powered by a motor of 10 or more. 

Do I need a Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card for all types of boats?

The Florida Boater Education ID Card is required for boaters who wish to operate a boat with a motor of 10 hp or more. Operators who were born on or after January 1st, 1988 are required to get certified. 

How long does the Florida Boating Safety Course take?

The state of Florida requires that you spend a minimum of 3 hours studying the online course. The purchase of the BOATsmart! Florida Boating Safety Course includes unlimited lifetime access, so you can check back for refresher lessons anytime.

Is my Florida Boater Card valid in other states?

Yes. The Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card is accepted in 40 states, which extend reciprocity. This means the BOATsmart! Course meets the National Standards established by NASBLA. This law applies to operators of motorized boats, but not in all states to operators of personal watercraft (PWCs). Always check the boating laws in the state you plan to visit prior to operating a boat or PWC there.

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