Being out on the water is the absolute best way to beat the Texas heat. Just picture it: you’re covered in sunscreen, the wind in your hair and the spray of water hitting your face. There is, quite possibly, nothing better than boating during the hot summer months. However, Texans aren’t just out on the water when it’s hot outside. You can find them outdoors, a fishing pole in their hand, no matter the month. Being out on the water in the Lone Star State is the easiest way to have a perfect day — if you’re properly certified to do so. 

Why do I need a Texas Boater Education Card?

In Texas, you’ll need a card (commonly called a Texas Boating License) to operate certain watercraft if you were born on or after September 1, 1993. If you require certification but you’re not yet certified, you can be accompanied by a legal operator 18 years of age or older. These laws help to make sure that the waters are safer for all that boat on them, and they’re a great way to hold Texas boaters accountable.

If you were born before September 1, 1993, you’re not legally required to undergo a boater safety course in the state of Texas. However, being certified will increase your boating safety knowledge and has the additional potential for insurance savings so we strongly recommend taking one.

How do I know if I need a Texas Boater Education Card?

If you were born on or after September 1, 1993, you must have a Texas Boater Education Card (Texas Boating License) to operate:

  • A motorized boat of 15 hp or more
  • Wind-powered sailboats greater than 14 feet in length
  • A personal watercraft (PWC)

Official requirements for getting certified in Texas

It’s easy and simple to get your Texas Boater Education Card when you use BOATsmart! in just three simple steps: 

  1. Take the approved BOATsmart! Texas Boating Safety Course online.
  2. Pass your online Texas Boating Safety Test.
  3. Print your temporary certificate immediately. You’ll be able to download your official certificate from the TPWD within two weeks of certification.

And, that’s it. Unlike licenses, Boater Safety Card certifications never expire. You are set for life.

What are the consequences of going out on Texas waters without certification?

If you’re operating a boat equipped with a motor, PWC or sailboat greater than 14 feet in length on Texas waters without a valid Boater Education Card, be prepared to be fined up to $500.

What does it cost to get your Texas Boater Education Card?

Boater safety education courses can vary in cost, but BOATsmart!’s Texas Boater Safety Education Course costs just $29.95 for lifetime access.

Why BOATsmart!?

By using BOATsmart! to educate yourself on boater safety, you’ll know you’re covered and safe on the water. BOATsmart! is the best choice for Texas boaters looking for an efficient online safety course. We’re here to get you ready so your fun day on the water goes off without a hitch. 

Learn more about Texas boating laws

Make sure you’re up-to-date on everything related to boating in Texas with our comprehensive guide. You’ll find everything you need to know when it comes to safe Texas boating, from current legal requirements to steps for obtaining a new card.