A Quick Guide to Boating in Florida

With over 30,000 lakes covering more than 3 million acres of land, the state of Florida, USA, is a popular tourist attraction for boating enthusiasts. While you don’t need a ‘boating license’ to operate a motorboat in the state of Florida, there are federal laws that need to be complied with.

Florida law requires anyone who operates a motorboat of ten (10) horsepower or greater to successfully complete an approved boating safety course and obtain a Boating Safety Education Identification Card issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Below are a few frequently asked questions and answers in this regard:

What type of mandatory education is required?

There are two types of education courses that may be required. The first course type includes any NASBLA/State of Florida-approved boating safety education course. The second type is the course for violators.

Since the partnership of Boat Ed and the FWC, the state’s first approved defensive boating course ‘The Florida Safe Boating Course for Violators’ was introduced. Do you want to know more about this course? Read below!

How is a Violator defined?

If a person is sentenced for an illicit boating violation or any infraction leading to a reportable accident with a boat, he or she has to take the Florida Boating Course available at This course is designed for violators by providing an online course for boating safety with classes approved by the state.

If a person is convicted to two infractions (non-criminal) within a period of 1-year, he or she has to take this educational course. The Florida Online Boating Safety Course fulfils this requirement.

Which course is right for me?

Based on the infraction and violation, you can choose between two courses:

  • Boat Ed offers a four-hour online course for Florida Violators.
  • A Florida- and NASBLA-approved course for boating safety.

If sentenced to two infractions (non-criminal) within a period of 12-months, you have to take the Florida- and NASBLA-approved course for boating safety offered at Boat Ed.

If sentenced for an infraction of an illicit boating violation that becomes the reason for a reportable boating accident, you have to take the Florida Violator and Boating Safety online course.

What is the cost of a Violator Course?

You have to pay $49.95 for the course, exam, and certificate. The results will appear immediately after completion.

Can I operate my boat after passing the courses?

No, your boating rights are suspended. You can’t hit the water with your boat until you successfully pass these courses and show proof to FWC.

How do I prove that I have passed these courses successfully?

Once you pass the Florida Violator Course, FWC will receive proof of successful completion from Boat ED electronically. After completing the Florida boating (state-approved) safety course, you have to send the certificate of completion to the following addresses within 90 days:

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
Division of Law Enforcement
Boating and Waterways Section
620 South Meridian St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600

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