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Official Nevada Boating Course

The BOATsmart! Nevada Boater Education Course  is approved and accredited by the Nevada Department of Wildlife. With more than 3,000 Five Star Reviews, we’re proud to be recognized as an official Nevada Boater Education Course  and the choice of boaters in Nevada.

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NASBLA & Coast Guard Approved

The BOATsmart! Nevada 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 Nevada 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.

NEVADA BOATING LICENCE REQUIREMENTS

WHAT IS A NEVADA BOATER SAFETY CARD?

A Nevada Boater Safety Card proves that you’ve obtained the knowledge needed to safely operate a motorized boat on Nevada waterways. All boat operators born on or after January 1, 1983 are required to get certified to operate a boat powered by a motor of 15 hp or more on Nevada waterways. 

WHERE CAN I GET MY NEVADA BOATING LICENSE?

You can get your Nevada Boater Safety 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 NEVADA?

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

AGE AND HORSEPOWER RESTRICTIONS

It is illegal for any person under the age of 14 to operate a personal watercraft (PWC). 

Additionally, a boat operator who is towing a person with their boat must meet the following requirements:

  • They must be 16 years of age or older.
  • They must be at least 14 years of age and have a supervisor on board who is 18 years of age or older.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET MY NEVADA BOATING LICENSE?

It takes a minimum of 3 hours to get your Nevada Boater Safety 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 NEVADA BOATING COURSE?

Yes. Boater operators in the state of Nevada 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 Nevada waterways to be sure that you’re safe and confident on the water. 

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

Boat operators in Nevada are not required to have a Boater Safety Card to operate a rented boat in the state. However, operators will be required to complete a signed rental agreement, which is valid for the length of the rental period. 

Boating and alcohol in Nevada

NEVADA BOATING AND ALCOHOL LAWS

It is illegal in the state of Nevada to operate any boat, or manipulate any waterskis, surfboard or similar device while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.

In Nevada, a person is considered to be under the influence if:

  • They are impaired by alcohol, drugs or a combination of such substances.
  • They have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)  level of 0.08 or more.

FINES AND PENALTIES

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

  • Jail time for up to 6 months.
  • A fine of up to $1,000.
  • Court costs.
  • Testing fees.

 

The penalty for boating under the influence (BUI) causing death or injury is:

  • Jail time from 2-20 years.
  • A fine from $2,000-$5,000.

Nevada Boating Age Requirements

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PWC RESTRICTIONS

It is illegal for any person under the age of 14 to operate a personal watercraft (PWC).

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TOWING AGE RESTRICTIONS

A boat operator who is towing a person with their boat must meet the following requirements:

  • They must be 16 years of age or older.
  • They must be at least 14 years of age and have a supervisor on board who is 18 years of age or older.
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Nevada's Boating Fines

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Operating under the influence

Up to $1000

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Operating in a restricted area

Up to $1000

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Failure to display navigation lights

Up to $1000

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Boat Registration Violations

Up to $1000

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Life Jacket Violations

Up to $1000

General Nevada boating FAQs

WHO REGULATES BOATING LAWS IN NEVADA?

The Nevada Department of Wildlife is responsible for regulating boating laws in the state of Nevada. 

WHO ENFORCES NEVADA’S BOATING LAWS?

Boating laws in Nevada are enforced by:

  • Nevada Department of Wildlife Game Wardens, sheriffs and other peace officers.
  • The Coast Guard has enforcement authority on Lake Tahoe and the Colorado River System, which includes Lake Mead and Lake Mohave.
  • U.S. National Parks Service on Lake Mead and Lake Mohave.

 

Enforcement officers have the authority to stop and board a boat to ensure that the operator is in compliance with state and federal laws.

It is illegal to attempt to elude law enforcement, or to fail to stop your boat when signaled to do so by law enforcement.

How to register a boat in Nevada

NEVADA BOAT REGISTRATION

To operate a boat in the state of Nevada you must obtain a Certificate of Number and validation decals.

Nevada Certificates of Number and validation decals are obtained through the Nevada Department of Wildlife, by submitting an application form and a fee. Once obtained, the Certificate of Number must be carried on board at all times during operation, and must be available for inspection by law enforcement. In Nevada, boats that require registration must also be titled.

Certificates of Number are valid for one year and expire December 31st of the year they were issued.

 

THESE VESSELS DO NOT REQUIRE REGISTRATION IN NEVADA

  • A ship’s lifeboats.
  • Boats that have been registered in another state, and are temporarily using Nevada waters for 90 consecutive days or less.
  • Sailboats and human-powered boats (i.e. canoes, kayaks, etc.).

 

CHANGE OF ADDRESS REQUIREMENTS

Boat owners that have changed their address must notify the Nevada Department of Wildlife in writing, within 10 days of the change. They are required to do the same if their boat is abandoned, destroyed, or stolen. If a Certificate of Number, decal or title is lost or destroyed, boat owners are required to pay a fee and submit an application in order to obtain a duplicate.

 

DO I NEED BOAT INSURANCE IN NEVADA?

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

Boats in Nevada 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 numbers must be read from left to right.
  • Validation decals must be affixed to each side of the boat, behind the registration number (towards the stern) and must be within 6 inches of, and in line with the registration number.
  • The placement requirements also apply to personal watercraft (PWCs).

Nevada lifejacket laws

 

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NEVADA’S LIFE JACKET LAWS

Every boat must carry at least one Coast Guard-approved lifejacket for each person on board and for any person being towed by the boat, placed so as to be readily accessible for use in an emergency.

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BOATS MORE 26 FT IN LENGTH

Boats more than 26 ft in length must carry one wearable life jacket (Type I, II, III or V) for each person on board. Additionally, a throwable device must be carried on board all boats than a more than 26 feet in length.

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PERSONAL WATERCRAFT

Any person operating or riding on a PWC is required to wear a Coast Guard-approved lifejacket. Inflatable lifejackets are not permitted for use on PWCs.

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CHILDREN UNDER 13 YEARS OF AGE

In Nevada, passengers under 13 years of age are required to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket while on board any boat while the boat is underway, unless they are in an enclosed area.

Boating Restrictions & Regulations

ENGINE CUT OFF SWITCH REQUIREMENTS 

In Nevada, all operators or motorized boat which are equipped with an engine cut-off switch (such as a Personal Watercraft), must keep the lanyard attached to their person when operating at more than 5 mph.

NEGLIGENT BOAT OPERATION

It is illegal in the state of Nevada to operate any boat or manipulate any waterskis, surfboard or similar device in a careless, reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger the life, limb or property of any person.

Examples of reckless operation include:

  • Riding on the bow, gunwale, transom or outboard engine cover.
  • Maneuvering a towed skier or device so as to pass the towline over another boat or its skier.
  • Chasing or harassing wildlife with any boat.
  • Navigating any boat, skis or device between a towing boat and its tow.
  • Operating a motorized boat while any person is hanging onto, or sitting, standing or riding on, a swim platform or a swim ladder that is attached to the boat.
  • Overloading a boat beyond it’s safe carrying capacity.

Environmental Protection

NON-NATIVE AQUATIC SPECIES

The spread of quagga mussels in Nevada poses a risk to the native aquatic wildlife, ecosystems and to all of Nevada’s water-based recreation!

Quagga mussels are a non-native species that have been discovered in the Colorado River system and in Lake Mead. They collect in industrial and municipal water pipes, eventually blocking them and costing the state millions of dollars to treat and clear. Unfortunately, they spread easily from one body of water to the next, which is why boaters must actively prevent the spread of this AIS.

Nevada requires boaters (both motorized and human-powered) to purchase an Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) decal from the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), prior to boat operation on Nevada waterways. These decals generate funds that go directly into Nevada’s AIS mitigation and preventative programs. This includes all motorized boats (from in-and-out of state) and all human-powered craft (i.e. canoes, kayaks and rowboats). Exemptions include: Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUPs), float tubes and other watercraft that will not retain water, and also kayaks that are self-bailing (with no internal storage compartments that will retain water).

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. t.
  • 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.

NEVADA AIS DECALS

To obtain your AIS decal: Visit the NDOW in person, call the NDOW at 866-703-4605 Or, buy the decal online at ndowlicensing.com

The Silver State, Blue Waters, Good Times

Nevada state flag.

Nevada Boating Destinations

BOATING IN NEVADA

Yes, most of Nevada is covered by desert landscapes. However, this semi-arid state that is so well known for those lonely highways, expansive stretches of red rocks and sand (and sparkly casinos) also offers tourists beautiful National Parks and State Parks, the Grand Canyon and some spectacular waterways, like world-famous Lake Tahoe, where you can launch a boat, get a little wet and enjoy a day on the water in Nevada!

So whether you plan on visiting the glittering Las Vegas strip or a city like Reno, or maybe you plan on visiting a small, cozy town like Virginia City or Elko, known for being on the doorstep of Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and the Ruby Mountains, Nevada has a place and a water venue for everybody! So get out there and soak in that Nevada sunshine!  

 

NATIONAL AND STATE PARKS

Nevada’s National and State Parks offer outdoor enthusiasts great places to go exploring in both the Northern and Southern Regions of the state. You can go sight-seeing, hiking, boating, climbing – there’s lots to see and do in Nevada. Better get started now! 

Some of Nevada’s most popular parks include Death Valley National Park and it’s dauntingly parched landscape, Cathedral Gorge State Park and it’s amazing canyons and of course, Lake Tahoe-Nevada State Park with it’s awesome boating and beaches. Visit Nevada State Parks for more information about boating opportunities or restrictions. 

 

NEVADA’S BEST BOATING LAKES

Where you should plan to launch your boat and hit the water in Nevada really depends on what area of this state you plan on visiting. But to get you started, we thought we’d name just a few of our favorite places to hit the water to go boating or paddling in Nevada. They’re popular for a reason.

Helpful resources for boating in Nevada