Boating Laws and Regulations

North Carolina Boating Safety Education Requirements

A North Carolina Boating License is required for anyone born on or after January 1, 1988 who operates a powered watercraft of 10 HP or more on state waters.

Exemptions to Education Requirement

There are several conditions that might exempt people from having to obtain a North Carolina Boating License. Please consult the North Carolina Senate Bill on Boating Safety Education for more information.

Age Restrictions

  • No person under 14 years of age may operate a personal watercraft (PWC).
  • Children under 13 years of age on the deck or cockpit must be wearing their personal flotation device (life jacket) while the vessel is underway.

Important Note

The online boating safety course covers a wide range of operating laws in North Carolina. For a complete listing of North Carolina's boat operating rules and regulations, please consult the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s website at