Don’t own a boat yet but want to learn how to boat? Are you traveling and interested in renting a boat? Then you should look into a one day boat license.

Boating license terms vary quite a bit depending on your state. For example, you may find that a “one day boat license” may not even exist in your state but that you can earn something like a “boater education certificate.”  This will prove that you have succeeded in finishing a boat safety course, but because it may not need to be renewed, it still isn’t technically a boat license.

Visit your state’s official web site to learn the specific laws and regulations regarding boating and any information that might be related to a one day boat license course. That site should provide a list of entities that offer such training and let you know what is legally required to shove off for a day. State requirements usually depend on age of operator and horsepower of the boat motor.

Most states require training before operating watercraft, but if not it is good idea anyway to help prevent accidents for yourself and others. One boater education site stated that the U.S. Coast Guard has reported that about 70% of the accidents are caused by errors by the boat driver. And according to the American Boating Association, “a 1997 study estimated that 84% of PWC (personal watercraft) operators (including renters) had received no boating instruction whatsoever. PWC injuries account for 36% of all reported boating injuries.

The best way to be sure you can legally operate a boat in any state is to complete a boat operating course, for a one day boat license or longer, in your state. A good place to start is the same site you use to register your boat. You may find that the paperwork is transferable and that for rentals, you might not even need it with you as long as you sign paperwork stating it has been completed. But there is a wise saying: “it is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.” Most importantly, the additional safety information learned from this course will help keep you and your passengers safe.

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. He says there are “people who fish”… and there are “fishermen”.  One of the few things he knows is that he is a “fisherman”…  To the point it could be classified as borderline illness.  Sharing this obsession is rewarding, therapeutic. He likes to encourage people to “stop and smell the crappie.”  Enjoys catching fish, but gets a greater thrill out of helping someone else hook up.

Born in Florida, but raised on the banks of Oklahoma farm ponds. Now relocated to western Pennsylvania. He has fished, worked, lived all around the US.  He has a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State as well…

And he met his wife while electrofishing. He has been contributing weekly to since 2011.   

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