Boating license requirements in Texas
Boater Education training is recommended for all boat operators and required for those born on or after September 1, 1993.
Successful completion of a TPWD-certified boater education course and possession of a valid photo I.D. are required for any person born on or after September 1, 1993 to operate:
- a vessel powered by a motor of more than 15 horsepower; or
- a windblown vessel over 14 feet in length.
Texas boating laws & regulations
It's Texas state law on recreational vessels under 26ft. in length when underway (including drifting or not at anchor), all children under 13 years old must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Adults must have a properly fitting life jacket that is easily accessible.
It is illegal in Texas for a operator to be under the influence while driving a boat. A person's drivers license will be automatically suspended if the arrested person:
Is operating a watercraft powered with an engine having a manufacturer's rating of 50 horsepower or above with a BAC of .08 or higher; and
The person refuses to provide a specimen (breath or blood) to determine intoxication.
FAQ - Boating in Texas
- Who is required to take the boating safety course in Texas?
Boater education is required for those born on or after September 1, 1993.
- Who is exempt from needing the Texas boating license ?
A person may purchase a one-time 15 day boater education deferral at any place hunting and fishing licenses are sold.
- What are the age restrictions regarding boating safety in Texas?
To operate a vessel alone in Texas, a boater must be 13 years of age to operate a vessel of more than 15 horsepower; or windblown vessel over 14 feet in length; and meet the education requirements stated above.
- Do I need to register my boat in Texas?
Effective January 1, 1994, all motorboats and all outboard motors must be titled.
All motorized vessels, regardless of length (including any sailboat with an auxiliary engine);
All non-motorized vessels (including sailboats) 14 feet in length or longer; and
All internal combustion (gasoline/diesel/propane powered) outboard motors must be titled.
Applications for title must be submitted not later than 45 days from the date of purchase.
Boat trailers are handled through your local County Tax office.
- Is my boating license good in other States?
Every U.S. state that demands a boating license will accept Boating Education Licenses from other states that conform to NASBLA requirements as well.
You should follow your safety course in the State where you are resident.