Questions Concerning the Boater Education Law
Q: Am I required to have a license to drive a boat?
A: An education certificate is not a license. Having a drivers license (for driving a car) has nothing to do with being able to operate a boat according to the law. The education law requires any boat operator born on or after January 1, 1982 to successfully complete a boating education course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) or proficiency test before operating any craft powered by greater than 10 horsepower.
Q: Is this just a youth education bill?
A: The law seems to affect only young adults, but as the years pass, the January 1, 1982, date stays the same. In 50 years, just about every person who operates a boat of greater than 10 horsepower will have been certified.
Q: Is an education certificate needed to rent a boat?
A. Boaters born on or after January 1, 1982, have the option of either presenting a certificate from a NASBLA-approved boating education course or proficiency test, or signing an statement that they possess the certificate, or taking an on-site abbreviated test provided by the ODNR Division of Watercraft when renting any craft powered by greater than 10 horsepower.
Q: Can kids still operate a boat under the new law?
A: As long as the child operator fulfills the requirements of the new law, they can continue to operate a boat. If a supervising person is required, then the supervising person must also fulfill the law. The law only applies to boats of greater than 10 horsepower and to operators who were born on or after January 1, 1982. Operator age limits for personal watercraft remain the same: under 12 not permitted to operate; 12-15 need a supervising adult 18+ on board; 16-year-olds may operate alone -- as long as the operators have education certification.
Q: What courses are acceptable to meet this requirement?
A: Any NASBLA-approved boating education course. Currently that includes courses offered by the ODNR Division of Watercraft, the US Power Squadron and the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. It also includes some online courses and the ODNR Division of Watercraft Home Study Course. Be wary that some online course certificates are not accepted by other states. The course certificate you get from US Power Squadron, US Coast Guard Auxiliary, and Ohio Boater Education Course (classroom or online) are accepted in every surrounding state.
Q: Is my boating education certificate from another state good in Ohio?
A: A certificate from another state is acceptable provided it is for a NASBLA approved course.
Q: When did this law go into effect?
A: The education requirement became effective January 1, 2000.
Q: Where can I find out about boating courses in my area?
A: From our Boating Course Search web site. On-line, home-study, and proficiency exam options are available to you as well.