Who needs an Oregon Boat License?

Oregon’s Mandatory Boater Education law  requires that any person operating a boat of 10 horsepower or more, including personal watercraft (PWCs), complete a course on basic boating skills and/or pass a test to demonstrate basic boating knowledge.

After the test has been completed, the operator must apply for a Boater Education Card, commonly called a boat license. This card must be carried on board the boat during operation.

Exemptions:

  • A non-resident who will be operating on Oregon waters for less than 60 days, or who has a Boater Education Card issued by another state.
  • A person who has a current Coast Guard Boat Operator’s License.
  • A commercial fisherman who has obtained a current commercial fishing license (these operators must carry their commercial license or documentation on board with them when operating recreationally).
  • Non-certified adults under supervision—an adult can operate a powerboat without a Boater Education Card, so long as they are directly supervised by a person 16 years of age or older who has obtained their card (the supervisor must be 18 years of age or older to supervise on a personal watercraft).
  • A person who has recently purchased a boat and has in their possession a temporary Certificate of Number (only valid for 60 days).
  • A person who is renting a boat and has completed a watercraft rental safety checklist.

Boat Rental in Oregon

In order to rent and operate a boat or personal watercraft (PWC), you are required to:

  • Have obtained and be carrying on board, an Oregon Boater Education Card;
  • Or, have completed and be carrying on board, a Watercraft Rental Safety Checklist.

Note: It is illegal for any person under the age of 18 to rent a PWC. 

Oregon’s Age and Horsepower Restrictions:

In Oregon, children under 12 years of age are not permitted to operate a motorized boat.

Children between 12-15 years of age may:

  • Operate a motorized boat of 10 horsepower or less so long as they have obtained and are carrying their Boater Education Card during boat operation.
  • Operate a motorized boat of more than 10 horsepower so long as they have obtained and are carrying their Boater Education Card during boat operation and they are being supervised by a person 16 years of age or older who has also obtained a Boater Education Card.
  • Note:If the motorized boat of 10 horsepower or less is a PWC, the supervisor must be 18 years of age or older in order to supervise.