Washington’s Boating License Requirements
According to Washington’s boating license requirements, all boat operators in Washington are required to obtain and carry a Washington State Boater Education Card (commonly called a Boating License) when operating a motorized boat with an engine of 15 horsepower or greater. This includes operators of personal watercraft (PWCs).
A Boating License can be obtained by passing an approved boating safety education course or equivalency exam.
Boating License Exemptions:
- Any person born before January 1st, 1955.
- Operators of commercial fishing boats who have a commercial license.
- Operators who possess a Coast Guard Marine Operators License.
- Operators of rented, leased or chartered boats, who are carrying a commission-approved educational checklist.
- Operators from another state or country who are operating in Washington for less than 60 consecutive days.
- Operators from another state or country who possess a valid Boater Education Card from their state or country, and who are operating in Washington for less than 60 consecutive days.
- A person purchasing a boat can use the bill of sale for up to 60 days, in place of a Boater Education Card.
Washington’s Age & Horsepower Restrictions
- Children 12 years of age and under must not operate a boat with motor of 15 horsepower or more.
- Children 12 years of age and older may operate a boat with an engine of 15 horsepower or more, so long as they have obtained and are carrying a Boater Education Card.
- Children 14 years of age and older may operate a personal watercraft (PWC) so long as they have obtained and are carrying a Boater Education Card. However it is illegal to rent, lease or hire a PWC to a person under 16 years of age.
Some counties and cities may have additional age restrictions for PWC operators. Boat operators should check their local jurisdictional rules to ensure their abiding by local regulations.