Boating Laws and Regulations

Virginia Boating Safety Education Requirements

Virginia Boating Card

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is gradually phasing-in the mandatory boater education requirement that has been law since 2007. In 2012 all personal watercraft (PWC) operators must meet the requirement. A new block of boaters will be added each year until July 1, 2016 when all boaters who are not exempt shall meet the requirement.

Virginia Infographic
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Age Restrictions

  • No one under the age of 14 may operate any personal watercraft (PWC) on Virginia State Waters.
  • Children under the age of 13 must wear a properly fitted Personal Flotation Device (life jacket) when onboard any vessel that is underway unless they are below deck or in an enclosed cabin.

Important Note

The online boating safety course covers a wide range of operating laws in Virginia. For a complete listing of Virginia's boat operating rules and regulations, please consult the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website at