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The BoatUS Foundation's Online Course is the only FREE Online Boating Safety Course approved by the Hawaii Division of Boating and Recreation for recreational vessel operation.

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approved boating safety course

Recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard, approved by NASBLA and your state boating license agency.

Here's how to get started or return to your course:

We launched a completely new platform for our free online course on 11/18/2020!

Our old course system Is officially retired but if you need to access your certificate of completion, you can request a copy through this form

For a brief tutorial on getting started in the new system or to contact us, click here.


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Complete the Course in Three Easy Steps:

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Enroll yourself in a Boating Safety Course from the Course Catalog

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Study and pass the FREE Boating Safety Course.

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Print out your certificate of completion yourself for free

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Education Requirements:

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Age Requirements:

Maryland’s Boating Safety Education Law is designed to assure that the younger generations of boaters have fundamental knowledge of boating rules and safety and, eventually, all boaters will be operating their boats with a basic level of boating education. The Maryland Boating Safety Education Law requires that any person born on, or after July 1, 1972, must have in their possession a certificate of boating safety education while operating a numbered or documented vessel on Maryland waters.

Course Information:

An official Maryland boating safety education certificate may be obtained by completing an approved boating safety course or passing an equivalent exam. The Natural Resources Police, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the BoatUS Foundation and U.S. Power Squadrons all offer an approved course.

All certificates must be obtained by taking an approved course and exam. The BoatU.S. online course does meet this requirement, and is recognized by the Maryland DNR as proof of education.

A certificate of boating safety education is not required if:

  • A person 16 years of age or older is a resident of another state, visiting Maryland for 60 days or less, in a vessel numbered in another state
  • A person is visiting the State for 90 days or less in a vessel from a foreign country
  • A person is operating a vessel on a body of water located on private property
  • A vessel is operated for commercial purposes

A boating safety education certificate issued by another state is valid in Maryland as long as it meets the criteria of the National Association of the Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). The certificate of Boating Safety Education issued by the Maryland DNR is valid for a lifetime and may not be revoked.

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Education Requirements:

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General Requirements:

Any person operating a power driven vessel on the waters of the State is required to possess a certificate of completion from a NASBLA approved course on the safe use and operation of a power driven vessel that contains a component on Hawaii waters approved by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. This requirement applies to all vessels with motors greater than 10HP. Certain exemptions apply. For details, visit

A person under sixteen (16) years of age shall not operate a power driven vessel on the waters of the State unless the person possesses a certificate of completion from a NASBLA/State approved boating safety course and is accompanied on-board and directly supervised by a person twenty-one (21) years of age or older who also holds the required certificate of completion.

Thrill Craft Requirements:

Regarding Thrill Craft, all recreational thrill craft operators (including PWC operators) shall be required to possess and make available upon demand of enforcement personnel, a certificate of completion from an accredited institution of higher education on the safe use and operation of a thrill craft. The BoatU.S. Online safety course does not meet this requirement.

No person under 15 years of age shall operate a thrill craft. No person shall permit, or mislead another person into permitting, a person under 15 years of age to operate a thrill craft.

The BoatUS Online safety course does not meet this requirement for thrill craft operators. Only courses for thrill craft operators offered through the University of Hawaii Community College system are approved for Thrill Craft and PWC operators.

A thrill craft is any motorized vessel that falls into the category of a personal watercraft and which:

  • Is generally less than 13 feet in length as manufactured
  • Is generally capable of exceeding a speed of 20 mph
  • Can be operated by a single operator, but may have the capacity to carry passengers while in operation
  • Is designed to provide similar operating performance as a personal watercraft through a combination of size, power plant, and hull design

The term "thrill craft" generally includes, but is not limited to, a jet ski, wave-runner, wet bike, surf jet, miniature speed boat, hovercraft, and every description of vessel which uses an internal combustion engine powering a water jet pump as its primary source of motive propulsion, and is designed to be operated by a person or persons sitting, standing, or kneeling on, or being towed behind the vessel.

How Do I Get My Hawaii Certificate?

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1. After you complete the course you will be issued a printable copy of your certificate that you can print yourself and use immediately.

2. You will also have the option of ordering a Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources approved, waterproof plastic card for $13. Please allow 2-3 weeks for your card to arrive.

Course Information:

4 - 8 Hours

Estimated Course Time

6 Lessons

Each Contains a 10 Question Quiz

Final Exam

60 Questions Pulled Randomly

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Complete the Course at Your Own Pace

Choose when and where to take your course.
In our new online learning system, take it on any device with an internet connection and automatically have your progress saved when the window is closed.*

*You must be registed in our new system at and not have previously registered or started at

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Online Course Video:


  • Great course, and so much more convenient than going at night for several nights... Keep up the great work, and see you on the water.

  • Thank you so much! This was a great course and I learned so much. Hope you have a great weekend!

  • Thank you. The information that you gave me allowed me to complete the course. Your assistance was very much appreciated.

    D. White
  • Thank you so much! You folks are so kind. Good luck with the updates and have safe boating fun this summer!