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Virginia boating license

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Virginia Boater Education Card requirements

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In Virginia, all motorboat operators with a 10 hp motor or greater, regardless of age

AND

All PWC (personal watercraft e.g. a Jet ski, Sea Doo) operators need to take a NASBLA approved boating safety course.

Take your Official Virginia Boating Test online now and be certified for life across North America.

1

Study at your own pace

  • Pay only when you pass.

  • Complete and easy-to-read study guide.

  • Only $ 34.95 (online course, final test and online certificate included).

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Chapter 1

Boating safety course introduction

  • Mandatory boater education
  • Boating terminology
  • Registration & Titling
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Chapter 2

Boating Equipment

  • Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)
  • Navigation light equipment
  • Other recommended equipment
Chapter 3

Trip Planning and Preparation

  • Pre-departure checklist
  • Launching & Retrieving a boat from the water
  • Boat preventive maintenance
Chapter 4

Safe Boat Operation

  • Operator responsibilities
  • Influence of drugs and alcohol
  • U.S. Aids to navigation system
Chapter 5

Getting Underway

  • Navigation rules
  • Responsibilities between vessels
  • Docking & Undocking
Chapter 6

Emergency Preparedness

  • Boating accidents
  • Surviving in cold water
  • Rendering assistance - Accident report
Chapter 7

Other Water Activities

  • Small boats - Special dangers
  • Water skiing & towed devices
  • Water-Jet Propelled Watercraft (PWC)

Crystal clear. Our team works hard to develop intuitive and effective training. No endless reading, interactive learning is the key to success!

2

Do the assessments

  • Pass the Virginia chapter assessments

  • Free retries - Risk free!

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3

Print your certificate

  • Print your boater safety certificate and start boating now!

  • Your certificate is good for life.

  • You'll receive a wallet-sized card within 4-6 weeks.

We know you will like it, but give it a try.

It's free to register!✌️

Start the hunter safety course for free, satisfaction guaranteed. Study at your own pace. Pay when you pass. Only $ 34.95. And you'll be certified for life!

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I loved how easy and simple the steps where to achieve the online course. I felt very prepared for the boating exam.... I love AceBoater and recommend it to anyone looking to get their boating license. 😍
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AceBoater was both inexpensive and informative. I learned what I needed about navigating. Thanks AceBoater!
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Excellent experience! Simple, fun and relevant. I feel confident and well equipped. I recommend!!

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A complete 3-hour course… well organized in 7 chapters

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  • Study at your pace
  • The card is valid for life
  • Exam retries are free
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We wanted to create the most interactive and user-friendly online pleasure craft training platform for you. Our goal: to provide a clear, comprehensive and fun boater safety course, so that you can get on with the theory and go boating... NOW!

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FAQ - Boating in Virginia

Do I need to complete a boating safety course to operate a motorboat in Virginia?

Yes 

All Motorboat operators with a 10 hp or greater motor, regardless of age

AND

All PWC (Personal Watercraft such as jet skis, Sea Doos) operators need to take a boating safety course.

Who is exempt from having to complete a boating safety course in Virginia?
  • boaters in possession of a valid license to operate a vessel issued to maritime personnel by the U. S. Coast Guard or a marine certificate issued by the Canadian government are already covered. The law also allows for

  • a 90 day temporary operator's certificate for the owner(s) of a newly acquired boat. This nonrenewable temporary operator's certificate would be issued along with the certificate of number (boat registration) and gives the owner(s) of a newly acquired boat 90 days within which to successfully complete a boater safety education course, or successfully complete the equivalency exam

  • operation with a rental or lease agreement from a motorboat rental or leasing business and completion of a dockside safety checklist

  • operation under onboard direct supervision of a person who already meets the education requirement (so you can teach your kids or other family members/friends how to more safely operate a boat)

  • operation by non-residents operating a boat registered in another state if they meet the applicable boating safety education requirements of their state of residency

  • operation by Virginia registered commercial fishermen or a person under their direct supervision while operating the commercial fisherman's boat

  • operation by law enforcement officers while they are engaged in the performance of their official duties

  • operation of the motorboat due to the illness or physical impairment of the initial operator and is returning the boat to shore in order to provide assistance or care for the operator

  • Provides documentation that he is serving or has qualified as a surface warfare officer or enlisted surface warfare specialist in the United States Navy.

  • Provides documentation that he is serving or has qualified as an Officer of the Deck Underway, boat coxswain, boat officer, boat operator, watercraft operator, or Marine Deck Officer in any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States, United States Coast Guard, or Merchant Marine.

I do not have a driver's license. Can I still complete the Virginia boating safety course?

You are not required to have a state driver's license in order to obtain a boating education course.

Do you need to register your boat in Virginia?

Registrations are required for every recreational boat in Virginia. Sailboats under 18', kayaks, pedal boats, and canoes only need to be registered if they are motorized.

Where do I register a motorized boat in Virginia? 

Do I have to register a canoe?

How do I renew it?

Are there any fees?

When you register your boat in Virginia, what will you receive as proof?

What are the age restrictions to drive a motorboat in Virginia?

For a PWC, the minimum operator age continues to be age 16, except those 14 or 15 year olds who have completed and passed a course can operate. This has been the law since 1999 and has not changed.

For a motorboat, there continues to be no minimum operator age.

At what minimum age can a person be certified in Virginia?

No age limit as long as they can pass the test. However, it is fairly difficult for youngsters under the age of about 12 to complete and pass a course. Remember though that youngsters can operate a boat under onboard direct supervision of a person who meets the boating safety education requirement.

Do I need a boating certificate if I'm only operating a jet ski/PWC in Virginia?

To operate a PWC / jet ski in Virginia, everyone must be able to prove they have successfully completed an approved boating safety course.

How can I get a replacement boating education card if I've lost it?

If you've received a plastic, wallet-size Boater Education Card / Certificate from Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) you can receive a replacement as long as they can locate you in their database. You must go at https://www.ilostmycard.com/ 

Why should I choose ACEBOATER.com?
  • we have hundreds of illustrations that will help you to better understand the content;

  • our online course is available 24/7.

  • you can access our online support by phone, email or chat.

  • we offer multi-platform training.

  • our Policy has always been, "Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back"!

How long are boating safety certificates valid in Virginia?

Forever - they do not expire.

What does the course cost?

Only $ 34.95 (online course, final test and online certificate included).

Is Virginia boating safety certificate accepted in other states?

Yes. All states that require boater education certification will recognize the Virginia Boat Operator's Certificate, due to a NASBLA-approved course reciprocity for non-residents.

Who is required to wear a USCG approved lifejacket (PFD)?

According to Virginia boating laws, every vessel must carry one wearable USCG-approved PFD for each person on board. In ADDITION, at least 1 USCG approved Type IV (ring buoy or seat cushion) is required on all recreational boats 16 feet or greater except for:

  • personal watercraft ;

  • non-motorized canoes and kayaks 16’ in length or greater;

  • racing shells, rowing sculls, racing canoes and racing kayaks;

  • sail boards;

  • vessels of the United States used by foreign competitors while practicing for or racing in competitions.

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