Boating Laws and Regulations

Ohio Boating Safety Education Requirements

An Ohio Boater Education Card (often mistakenly called the Ohio Boating License) is required for all boat operators born on or after January 1, 1982 who operate a boat over 10hp. The boater education card should be carried onboard the vessel while underway.

Age Restrictions

  • Children under 12 may only operate a motorboat on Ohio waters if they are accompanied by an adult who is 18 or over (supervisor must have a boater education card if they were born on or after January 1, 1982).
  • No one under the age of 12 may operate a personal watercraft (PWC) on Ohio waters.
  • Persons 12 thru 15 may operate a PWC if accompanied by an adult who is at least 18 years of age (if the supervisor was born on or after Jan 1, 1982 he or she must be in possession of a boater education card).
  • Children under the age of 10 must wear a properly fitted Personal Flotation Device (life jacket) when onboard any vessel that is less than 18 feet in length.

Important Note

The online boating safety course covers a wide range of operating laws in Ohio. For a complete listing of Ohio's boat operating rules and regulations, please consult the Ohio DNR Division of Watercraft website at

Boating License or Boater Education 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 an Ohio Boating License!