Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about Connecticut Boating Regulations & Laws

Q. What is the "Connecticut Safe Boating Certificate" or "Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation"?

A. A Safe Boating Certificate (SBC) is required to operate any recreational vessel, except a personal watercraft on Connecticut’s waters. A Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation (CPWO) is required to operate any recreational vessel, including a personal watercraft. Either the SBC or CPWO must be carried with you when operating to avoid high fines.

Q. Do I have to get the Connecticut Safe Boating Card?

A. If you are 12 years of age or older you are required to get the SBC and CPWO to operate any powered watercraft or PWC over 10hp.

Q. How do I get my Connecticut Safe Boating Card?

A. You must successfully complete an in-class safe boating course and proctored exam. For a list of classroom courses please visit the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection online at www.ct.gov/dep/boating.

Q. Can I take an online safety course to get my certification?

A. No. To meet the mandatory education requirement in Connecticut, the boating course has to have a minimum of eight hours of classroom instruction, and the exam has to be a proctored, in-person exam.

Q. Is there a time limit to complete the final exam?

A. You can take the final exam at any time, day or night. The exam is not timed but inactive exams will be erased after 24 hours.

Q. Is there a time limit to complete the online course?

A. You can take the online course at any time, day or night. However, if it has been more than 12 months since you have started the course, you will have to restart the course from the beginning (if you already paid, you will NOT have to pay for the course again).

Q. How do I get my Personal Watercraft Certificate?

A. A boating course and a personal watercraft course or a combination of both courses needs to be completed, and then you must apply for the Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation (CPWO). The Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) offers courses which satisfy CPWO requirements.

Q. What is the minimum age to operate a Powered Vessel including Personal Watercraft (PWC) in Connecticut?

A. Any boater less than 12 years old who possesses a Safe Boating Card (SBC) or Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation (CPWO) may operate a boat up to 10 hp alone. To operate a boat over 10 hp, the child operator must be accompanied by an adult (18+ years of age) who also possesses a SBC or CPWO.

The minimum age to operate a PWC alone is 16, as of 1 January 2004. This is for all CPWO issued after 31 December 2003.

Q. If I live in another state, do I need the Connecticut Safe Boating Certificate to operate my boat on Connecticut waters?

A. The Safe Boating Certificate is intended for people who own property in the State of Connecticut, residents of the State of Connecticut or people who have a vessel required to be registered or display a Certificate of Decal in the State of Connecticut. If you live in another state and operate your vessel on Connecticut waters for more than 60 days in a calendar year, you will need the boating certificate. You will also need a Certificate of Decal (obtained through the DMV).

Q. What are the technical requirements for the online boater exam?

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Firefox 2.0
Chrome 3.0
Safari 2.0
Opera 9.0
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Operating System Windows XP or
Mac OS 9
Windows 7 or
Mac OS X
Screen Resolution 1024x768
Internet Connection dial-up high-speed