1. Who must take boater education?
Anyone born on or after September 1, 1993.
- any vessel over 15 horsepower,
- wind-blown vessel over 14 feet and
- all personal watercraft.
Some violations of the Water Safety Act also require course completion.
A partial list of these violations is in the Digest of the Water Safety Act.
2. What does the course cost?
Fees start at $20 for a basic course.
3. Who must be certified to operate a vessel alone?
In Texas a person cannot operate a windblown vessel over 14 feet in length, a motorboat with more than 15 horsepower, or personal watercraft unless he/she:
- was born on or after September 1, 1993 and has passed a boater education class or equivalency examination prescribed by the department.
- is 18 years of age and can lawfully operate the motorboat and is on board the motor boat when underway.
- is at least 13 years of age and have successfully completed a boater education course approved by the Department.
4. Who can operate a PWC?
NOTE: Children under 13 are specifically prohibited from operating a PWC unless accompanied on board by a person at least 18 years of age.
To operate a PWC, the operator must meet one of the following:
- Born on or after September 1, 1993 and passed a boater education class or equivalency examination prescribed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, or
- born before September 1, 1993, or,
- Persons requiring boater education who have not competed it must be accompanied by a person 18 years of age (who can legalla operate) or older, or
- At least 13 years of age and have passed a boater education course or equivalency examination prescribed by the department.
5. Is there a minimum operator age?
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 requirements as stated above.
6. What forms of identification does a person have to carry on board?
Persons subject to this law must have a picture identification card and a boater certification card issued by the department in their possession.
7. Are there any exemptions to the mandatory education law?
A person born before September 1, 1993.
8. Is there another way a person can get certified, other than taking an approved classroom course?
A person may take a homestudy course by completing an online certification course or by purchasing a home study video and workbook from Kalkomey, Inc., 14086 Proton Road, Dallas, Texas 75244, phone: 1-800-830-2268.
9. Can I be required to take a boater education course?
Courts have the authority to require a boater education course for violators of certain offenses.
10. May I have an open container on a boat?
Open containers are legal, but operators of boats are subject to boating while intoxicated laws, similar to driving a vehicle. Operators or passengers may also be subject to public intoxication laws. Drinking and boating is DANGEROUS and the cause of most boating fatalities.
11. Where can I learn more about Boater Education?
12. What are the frequently asked questions about boating laws?
Click here for FAQ about boating laws.
13. Requirements in other States