Licences and Certifications

This page helps you find answers to questions like: Do I need a Boater Card? Certifications? USCG License? What's the difference? Which do you need? 

Also, if you want training leading to a certification, from and instructor who has been evaluated on-the-water as a qualified instructor... what are your choices.

Finally, a link at the bottom of the page to the only FREE online boating safety course approved by the WA State Park and Recreation Commission.

Do I need Boater Card? Certifications? USCG License?

Manditory WA State Boater Ed Card

Info on WA state boating laws are available here: https://boat.wa.gov/regulations.asp Many recreational boaters in Washington are required to complete an approved boating safety education course and carry a Washington State Boater Education Card.  Card is valid for your lifetime  and meets requirements for recreational boating in Canada and many other states.   

WA boater card training

Training Certifications

You can learn to sail or powerboat without getting a training certification. But certified instructors from these organizations have been assessed on-the-water to national standards for both boating and teaching skills. Earning a certification can lower your insurance, help you to charter a boat, and give you (and others) confidence in the quality, depth and breadth of your knowledge and skills.

Us certification organizations with boating instruction

USCG Captain's License

A US Coast Guard Captain's License is a requirement for carrying paying guests on your boat, or being paid as a boating instructor. Obtaining a license includes detailed written examination of knowledge, and documenting the number of days you've been on a boat... but no on-the-water skills assessment. For more info, suggest you talk to Skip, Jan at Flagship:

Flagship USCG License training

US Boating Certification Orgs w/On-the-water Instructor Qual

American Sailing Association

Progressive sailing certifications from basic to bareboat chartering and offshore. Will not cross-certify with the US Sailing Association. Local ASA schools include Seattle Sailing Club and San Juan Sailing. Click logo above for more info.

US Sailing Association

Progressive sailing certifications from basic to bareboat chartering and offshore. Will not cross-certify with the American Sailing Association. Local US Sailing  schools include Windworks Sailing, the Center for Wooden Boats, and Sail Sand Point. Click logo above for more info.

Recreational Power Boating Association

Progressive power boating certifications. Will not cross-certify with the US Powerboating Association. Local RPBA schools include San Juan Yachting. Click logo above for more info.

US Powerboating Association

Progressive power boating certifications. Will not cross-certify with the Recreational Powerboating Association. Local US Powerboating schools include Windworks Powerboating. Click logo above for more info.

National Safe Boating Council

Safe boating certifications. Will not cross-certify with the other organizations. Click logo above for more info. 

FREE WA State Boater Training

 "To operate a motor driven boat of 15 horsepower or greater, a person   must be at least twelve years of age or older and complete a boating   safety course that is accepted by Washington State Parks and Recreation   Commission" (more info on site). The BoatUS Foundation's Online Course  is the  only FREE Online Boating Safety Course approved by the  Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. 

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