Boating Safety Course

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Boating license requirements in Wisconsin

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The state of Wisconsin Requires all boaters born after January 1 1989 to complete a NASBLA approved boating education course in order to legally operate a boat.

Wyoming boating laws & regulations

PFD requirements in Wisconsin:

All vessels (including canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards) must have at least one USCG-approved wearable life jacket for each person on board.

All vessels 16 feet or more in length must have one USCG approved throwable personal flotation device onboard that is immediately accessible.

Every person on board a personal watercraft must wear a USCG-approved life jacket.

Sailboards and windsurfers are exempt from life jacket requirement but are highly encouraged to wear one.

Federal law requires children under the age of 13 to wear a USCG-approved life jacket while underway in an open vessel on federally controlled waters.

Wisconsin BUI:

Wisconsin law prohibits operating a motorboat while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. A person can be convicted of boating while intoxicated (BWI) for operating a motorboat while:

Impaired by drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two to "a degree which renders him or her incapable of safe motorboat operation"

Having a BAC of .08 or greater. (.04% for commercial boaters), or

Having a "detectable amount" of a controlled substance in the blood.

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FAQ - Boating in Wisconsin

Who is required to take the boating safety course in Wisconsin?

The state of Wisconsin Requires all boaters born after January 1 1989 to complete a NASBLA approved boating education course in order to legally operate a boat.

Who is exempt from needing the Wisconsin boating license?

Anyone born before January 1 1989, and non-residents who have successfully completed a NASBLA approved course from their home state.

What are the age restrictions regarding boating safety in Wisconsin?

Under current law, no person under the age of 10 may operate a motorboat. Anyone 10 or 11 years old can operate a motorboat when accompanied by a parent, guardian or person over 18.

Youth 12 – 15 years old, may operate a motorboat on their own if they have completed an approved boating safety course and have the certification card.

Anyone 16 and older must have successfully completed a boating safety course and have a certification card. So in Wisconsin, anyone 16 or older must have a boating safety certification card unless s/he was born before January 1, 1989.


Do I need to register my boat in Wisconsin?

Yes the following vessels must be registered in the state of Wisconsin:

  • All motorized vessels and boats used on waters of the state; including electric trolling motors.

  • Sailboats greater than 12 feet in length used on waters of the state.

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.

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