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Official Alaska Boating Course

The Alaska BOATsmart! Boating Safety Course is approved and accredited by Alaska Department of Natural Resources. With more than 3,000 Five Star Reviews, we’re proud to be recognized as an official Alaska State Boating Course and the choice of boaters in Alaska.

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NASBLA & Coast Guard Approved

The BOATsmart! Alaska Boating Safety Course is officially recognized by the United States Coast Guard as meeting the standards of the National Recreational Boating Safety Program. BOATsmart!’s online Alaska Boating Safety Course is approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) as it meets and exceeds U.S. Boating Education Standards. NASBLA develops education standards for boating safety and represents boating law administrators in all 50 states and U.S. territories.

BOATsmart! courseware on a tablet.

Watch, Listen & Learn

From anywhere, on any device at any time.

Our animated and narrated Boating Safety Course is perfect for all ages. Study from your Smartphone, Tablet or Desktop and switch between devices at any time. BOATsmart! automatically tracks your progress so you can study at your own pace.

ALASKA BOATING LICENSE REQUIREMENTS

WHAT IS AN ALASKA BOATER EDUCATION CARD?

An Alaska Boater Education Card proves that you’ve obtained the knowledge needed to safely operate a motorized boat on Alaska waterways. Although there are no requirements for boaters to obtain and carry a Boating Education Card in Alaska, doing so will make you a safer and more confident boater.

WHERE CAN I GET MY ALASKA BOATING LICENSE?

You can get your Alaska Boater Education Card by completing the Official BOATsmart! Course online. Once you successfully complete the online study guide and final exam, you can print a temporary card immediately.  BOATsmart! will mail your permanent card within 4 weeks.

HOW OLD DO I HAVE TO BE TO GET A BOATER CARD IN ALASKA?

There is no minimum age to complete the Alaska Boater Education Course and obtain your Boater Education Card.

AGE AND HORSEPOWER RESTRICTIONS

There are no age restrictions or supervision requirements for boat operation within the state of Alaska.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET MY BOATING LICENSE?

It takes a minimum of 3 hours to get your Alaska Boater Education Card online. Once you’ve completed the online course and official test, you can print a temporary card and go boating right away. Your permanent card will be mailed to you by BOATsmart! within 4 weeks.

CAN I GET REFRESHER LESSONS AFTER TAKING THE ALASKA BOATING COURSE?

Yes. Boat operators in the state of Alaska can keep up-to-date on the latest boating regulations with the free BOATsmart! Knowledge Base. Learn about boating equipment requirements, navigation and right-of-way regulations and restrictions that may apply on Alaska waterways to be sure that you’re safe and confident on the water.

DO I NEED A LICENSE TO RENT A BOAT IN ALASKA?

Boat operators in the state of Alaska are not required to obtain a Boater Education Card to rent a boat within the state.

Boating and alcohol in Alaska

ALASKA BOATING AND ALCOHOL LAWS

It is illegal in the state of Alaska to operate any boat while under the influence of alcohol, an inhalant, controlled substances, or any combination thereof.

In Alaska, a person is considered to be under the influence/intoxicated if:

  • They have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 or more, within 4 hours of the time of the boat operation.

FINES AND PENALTIES

In Alaska, a person convicted of operating their boat while under the influence will be subject to the following penalties:

  • On their first conviction, they will be subject to a minimum $1,500 fine and a minimum of 72 hours imprisonment.
  • On their second conviction, they will be subject to a minimum $3,000 fine and a minimum of 20 days imprisonment.
  • On their third conviction, they will be subject to a minimum fine of $4,000 and a minimum of 60 days imprisonment.

 

Additionally, any person convicted of boating while intoxicated will also lose their driver’s license for a minimum of 30 days and have their boat forfeited.

Alaska Boating Age Requirements

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Age Requirements

There are no age restrictions or supervision requirements for boat operation within the state of Alaska.

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Alaska's Boating Fines

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Operating under the influence

Up to $4000

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Life jacket violations

Up to $500

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Boating Equipment Violations

Up to $500

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Boat Registration Violations

Up to $50

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Reckless or Negligent Operation

Up to $500

General Alaska boating FAQs

WHO REGULATES BOATING LAWS IN ALASKA?

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources is responsible for regulating boating laws in the state of Alaska.

 

WHAT ARE THE LAWS ON RECKLESS OR NEGLIGENT BOAT OPERATION?

A person may not operate a boat on Alaska’s waterways for recreational purpose or another purpose, or tow waterskis, a surfboard or a similar device in a reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger to life or property of another person. Additionally, in Alaska, it’s illegal to operate a boat that is not equipped with the required safety equipment.

Keep in mind that if you own a boat and lend it to someone else, you will be held responsible for any damages or injuries that occur while the other person (the boat borrower) is operating your boat. Additionally, if the person operating your boat is an immediate family member, it will be assumed that you have given them your consent to operate your boat.

WHO ENFORCES ALASKA’S BOATING LAWS?

Alaska’s boating laws are enforced by:

 

Whenever approached by an officer, boaters must stop, or slow to a speed sufficient for safe steerage only, and permit the officer to come alongside to check for registration and safety equipment. While safe boaters will find these officers both helpful and professional, violators can expect to be cited.

 

How to register a boat in Alaska

ALASKA BOAT REGISTRATION

In order to legally operate a motorized boat in the state of Alaska, you must obtain a Certificate of Number and validation decals. The state of Alaska does not title boats.

A Certificate of Number can be obtained through the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) by submitting the required documentation and fees. Upon registration, boat owners will receive their Certificate of Number and decals. The Certificate of Number must be on board and available for inspection by an enforcement officer during operation.

The Certificate of Number is valid for three years and expires on the last day of the month, at the end of the three year period.

A Certificate of Number issued by the Coast Guard (prior to 2001) will still be valid until the expiration date, unless the boat changes ownership.  When the Coast Guard-issued registration expires, the boat owner must renew the registration with the Alaska DMV.

 

THESE VESSELS DO NOT REQUIRE REGISTRATION IN ALASKA

  • Federally documented boats
  • Boats owned by the United States government
  • Motorized boats that are registered in another state or country and are temporarily using Alaska’s waters, for a period of less than 90 consecutive days
  • A ships lifeboat (so long as they are only used for lifesaving purposes)
  • Human-powered craft (i.e. kayaks, rafts and canoes)

 

OTHER REGISTRATION INFORMATION

If a boat is destroyed, sold, or abandoned, the owner of the boat must notify the Alaska DMV within 15 days. If the owner of a numbered boat changes their address, they must provide the DMV with their new address within 15 days, and pay a fee to receive a new Certificate of Number with their updated address.

If the Certificate of Number or validation decals are lost or destroyed, you must apply to the Alaska DMV and pay a fee in order to obtain a replacement.

 

Boats in Alaska are required to correctly display their registration number and validations stickers. 

Registration numbers and stickers must be displayed as follows:

  • Numbers must be applied as a decal, painted or permanently affixed to the forward half of each side of the boat (boat owners are not permitted to display any other numbers in this area).
  • The registration number must be in bold block letters that are at least 3 inches high and in a color that contrasts with the color of the boat.
  • The numbers in the registration number must be separated from the letters by a hyphen or by an equivalent space.
  • The number must be read from left to right.
  • Validation decals must be placed within 6 inches of the registration number on both sides of the boat.
  • These requirements are also applicable to personal watercraft (PWCs).

 

DO I NEED BOAT INSURANCE IN ALASKA?

Boats in Alaska are not required to be insured, however it is recommended.

 

Alaska’s life jacket laws

 

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Alaska’s life jacket laws

All boats in Alaska (including human-powered, such as kayaks and inflatable rafts, are required to carry a Coast Guard-approved, wearable life jacket for each person aboard the boat.

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Boats more than 16 ft in length

Boats greater than 16 feet in length must carry a readily accessible, Coast Guard-approved throwable device (i.e. a Type IV), in addition to a wearable life jacket for each person on board.

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Children 13 Years of Age & Younger

In Alaska, all boat passengers 13 years of age and younger are required to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket while in an open boat, on an open deck or while being towed on water-skis or other devices.

ALASKA’S BOATING LAWS AND REGULATIONS

RECKLESS OR NEGLIGENT BOAT OPERATION

A person may not operate a boat on Alaska’s waterways for recreational purpose or another purpose, or tow waterskis, a surfboard or a similar device in a reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger to life or property of another person. Additionally, in Alaska, it’s illegal to operate a boat that is not equipped with the required safety equipment.

Keep in mind that if you own a boat and lend it to someone else, you will be held responsible for any damages or injuries that occur while the other person (the boat borrower) is operating your boat. Additionally, if the person operating your boat is an immediate family member, it will be assumed that you have given them your consent to operate your boat. 

PROTECTING ALASKA’S MARINE MAMMALS

  • Boaters should stay at least 300 feet away from marine mammals or more if animals display a change of behavior.
  • Time spent viewing marine mammals should be kept to a maximum of 30 minutes.
  • Never try to pursue marine mammals, restrict their path or encircle them.
  • Always leave marine mammals with a clear escape route.
  • If a marine mammal approaches, put the engine in neutral and let the animal pass.
  • If a marine mammal displays erratic behavior or appears disturbed, cautiously leave the area.
  • Never handle or feed young marine mammals.

Environmental Protection

NON-NATIVE AQUATIC SPECIES

American waterways have been under threat from foreign aquatic plants, fish and invertebrates. Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) are transferred from boats and boating equipment that originate from external waterways. Once introduced to a new waterway, the ANS will detach from the contaminated boat and spread like wildfire. ANS include: Milfoil, Zebra Mussels and Quagga Mussels.

 

Why are ANS such a serious threat?

  • They have no natural predators in U.S. waters.
  • Some ANS can actually survive out of water, making transfer easy.
  • They reproduce quickly.
  • They have harmful effects on the native wildlife, habitats and ecosystems.

 

For more information on Aquatic Nuisance Species, visit: www.protectyourwaters.net/impacts.php.

HELP PREVENT THE SPREAD OF NON-NATIVE SPECIES

  • Inspect all surfaces of your boat and remove aquatic plants or animals before leaving any body of water.
  • Ensure you flush raw-water cooling systems and clean sea-strainers before moving your boat from one body of water to another.
  • Empty and dry any buckets before leaving a body of water. 
  • Remove any plant fragments from bait wells, fishing gear, trailers, dive gear or props. 
  • Dispose of plant fragments and bait into a garbage receptacle on land.  
  • Avoid chopping vegetation with your boat’s propeller.
  • Clean and dry all live-wells prior to transporting your boat.
  • Drain all water from your motor and bilge and dry all areas. 
  • Thoroughly wash your boat, including the hull, before putting it into a new body of water.
  • Refer to specific drying times.

INFESTATIONS OF NON-NATIVE SPECIES

Report new infestations of non-native aquatic species to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (209) 946-6400.

ALASKA AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES RESOURCES

For more information on Aquatic Invasive Species in the state of Alaska, visit http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=invasive.main

The Last Frontier, Blue Waters, Good Times

Alaska state logo.

Alaska Boating Destinations

Boating in Alaska is an incredible experience. This state offers a rugged, northern playground with incomparable mountain views, over 3 million lakes and ocean fun! Adventurous boaters will find the thrill they’re looking for in Alaska and if it’s the right time of year, boaters may even be lucky enough to spot whales in their natural environment. Yep, Alaska’s got it all.

So whether you’re visiting a big city like Anchorage, Fairbanks or Juneau, or maybe you’ll be checking out a cozy, historic town like Seward, known as the ‘Gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park“, Alaska truly has something to offer every type of boater! It’s hard to argue which activity is more popular in Alaska, the Sight-Seeing or the Fishing. Can’t decide? Then do both.

ALASKA’S POPULAR BOATING TRIP IDEAS

With popular boating and paddling tours located all over the state of Alaska, your on-water activity options are limitless. A few of the best boating lakes include: Kenai Lake, Big Lake and Stormy Lake. To help you plan your boating adventure in Alaska, we thought we’d name just a few of our favorite boating trips in Alaska. Check out the list below!

ALASKA’S STATE PARKS

Alaska’s State Parks offer outdoor enthusiasts 3.3 million acres of rugged, untouched terrain. Perfect for trailblazers, hikers, paddlers and boaters, the Alaska State Park System provides endless recreational opportunities year-round. You can take an organized boat tour in Glacier Bay National Park, go kayaking in Kenai Fjords National Park or head to Denali National Park to hike up Horseshoe Lake Trail and check out Alaska’s tallest mountain-top. Or strike out on your own to check out the boating opportunities the Alaska’s State Parks have to offer.

Helpful resources for boating in Alaska