Boating Laws and Regulations

Illinois Boating Safety Education Requirements

On January 1, 2016, no person born on or after January 1, 1998, unless exempted by subsection, shall operate a motorboat with over 10 horse power unless that person has a valid Boating Safety Certificate issued by the Department of Natural Resources or an entity or organization recognized and approved by the Department.

Beginning on January 1, 2016, persons at least 12 years of age and less than 18 years of age may operate a motorboat with over 10 horse power only if the person meets the requirements mention in this subsection.

  • They have in possession a valid Boating Education Certificate of Competency sanctioned by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Safety Education Section.
  • Or they are accompanied on the motorboat and under direct control of a parent or a guardian, or a person at least eighteen years of age designated by a parent or guardian.

Age Requirement

You must be at least 11 years of age to complete the Illinois online course.

Important Note

The online boating safety course covers a wide range of operating laws in Illinois. For a complete listing of Illinois's boat operating rules and regulations, please consult Illinois Department of Natural Resource's website at

Boating License or Boating Education Certificate... is there a difference?

The boater education card is proof that you have successfully completed a boating safety course. The boater education card does not expire and does not need to be renewed. Therefore, it is NOT a Illinois Boating License!