A Seattle boating accident attorney shares information on the mandatory boater education requirements in Washington State.

Washington State Mandatory Boater Education & Boater Education Cards


Before you can operate a motor vehicle on land in Washington State, you are required to pass a driving test and receive a motorist’s license. But what are the requirements for operating a motorized vessel in Washington’s waters? Although you are not required to hold a specific boating license, you are required to carry a boaters’ safety card that proves you have taken a mandatory boater education course.

Who needs a Boater Education Card in Washington State?

Anyone operating watercraft with 15 horsepower or greater must carry a boater education card.

However, the Washington State law regarding mandatory boater education is a new one – and it is being slowing phased in. In 2013, anyone under the age of 50 who operates a boat must carry a boater education card. In 2014, anyone under the age of 59 will need to carry a boater education card. No one born before January 1, 1955, will need to carry a card.

A boater education card is not a license. It is good for a lifetime of use and cannot be taken away. Washington boater education cards are good in all states that require boater education cards (and vice versa). The fine for not carrying or obtaining a boating education card is currently $87.

How do operators obtain a boater education card?

Boat operators have two options: taking a boating safety and education class or completing the Adventures in Boating Washington home study course. After completing the course, boaters must mail in proof of the course completion along with a completed application and a $10 processing fee.

Washington Boat Accident Attorney

Although Washington has been improving its boater safety laws in recent years, boating accidents and injuries still happen regularly. In many cases, these accidents could have and should have been prevented. If you would like to speak to a knowledgeable, experienced Seattle boat accident attorney about your case, call Andrew Kim today to schedule a free, private consultation at 800-636-3676.