Boating Laws and Regulations

Alabama Boating Safety Education Requirements

An Alabama boating license is required for all persons 12 years of age and older who operate a motorized vessel on Alabama waters. The boating license must be in the operator's possession at all times while on the water.

Exemptions to Education Requirement

You do not require an Alabama boater license if:

  • You hold a valid US Coast Guard Motorboat Operator's License;
  • You submit a valid certificate of successful completion of an Alabama Marine Police Division-approved safe boating course; or
  • You were born before April 28, 1954.

"Vessel Only" License

If you do not have a valid Alabama Driver's License, you still need an Alabama boating license to operate on state waters. After you have passed the online boating license test you can obtain a "vessel only" license from the Department of Public Safety license bureau.

Age Restrictions

  • Boaters under the age of 14 are not permitted to operate a vessel without adult supervision.
  • Children under the age of 8 must wear a properly fitted Personal Flotation Device (life jacket) when onboard, unless they are below deck or in an enclosed area.

Important Note

The online boating safety course covers a wide range of operating laws in Alabama. For a complete listing of Alabama's boat operating rules and regulations, please consult the Alabama Marine Police Division's website at www.outdooralabama.com