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How to Apply For a Boating License in Georgia

Georgia requires a Boater Education Card for boaters, and not a boating license. The regulatory authority for the card is Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division (DNR). The card is mandatory for all boat operators 12 years of age and older.

There are some restrictions on the age of boat operators.

If you are under 12 years of age:

  • You cannot operate a Class 1, 2 or 3 boat or a Class A boat powered by a motor of more than 30 horsepower.
  • You can only operate a Class A boat without a motor or with a motor less than 30 hp only when accompanied by an adult.
  • You cannot operate a personal watercraft (PWC).

If you are between 12 and 13 years of age:

  • You cannot operate a Class 1, 2 or 3 boat or a Class A boat powered by a motor of more than 30 horsepower.
  • You may operate a Class A non-motorized boat without adult supervision.
  • You may operate a Class A boat powered by a motor less than 30 horsepower and a PWC if you have passed the boat safety education course and are under the direct, onboard supervision of an adult at least 18 years old and holding his/her boat safety education card.

If you are between 14 and 15 years of age:

  • You may operate a Class A non-motorized boat without adult supervision.
  • You may operate any boat if you have passed the boating safety course and are under the direct, onboard supervision of an adult.
If you are 16 years and older, you may operate any boat as long as you have passed the boating safety course and are carrying proper identification. The boating laws of the state require that the person operating a boat should not be under the influence of intoxicants. The legal limit of the blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% and if arrested for a higher BAC, harsh penalties may be imposed on the operator, based on the severity of the offense as well as the previous number of such convictions.

EXEMPTIONS

The following persons are exempt from the above requirements:
  • Boat operators possessing a valid boaters' license issued by the U.S Coast Guard or the Canadian Government.

BOATER EDUCATION COURSE

To obtain the Boating Safety Education Card, you must complete a boater education course approved by the Georgia DNR, or pass an approved equivalency test. In an approved course, students learn how to operate and maintain their boats, the legal requirements for boating, and what to do in emergencies. This ensures that boating remains a safe and fun experience. There are various approved ways you can complete the course and obtain the card:
  1. Classroom options offered by Georgia's DNR.
  2. You can call (770) 784-3068 to find the class schedules in your vicinity.
  3. The Boating Safety Education Card is either handed out at the end of class, or mailed to you within 45 days.
  4. Only the card issued after a classroom course is recognized in most other states, and by many insurance companies for insurance discounts.
  5. Two approved online or home-study options offered by Boat Ed and PWC Safety School.
  6. These courses may take up to 8 hours to complete; some options require you to complete the course in one sitting.
  7. Course materials are free. Some providers charge a fee for exams or the card: check providers' websites for details.
  8. A temporary card may be printed after passing the online exam; the permanent card will be mailed to you.

RENEWAL

The card is permanent. There is no need to renew it.

REPLACEMENT

To replace a card, write to the Georgia DNR with proof of course completion, name, address and date of birth. Students who took the exam online may obtain a duplicate card by contacting their providers, and for a fee - check the providers' websites for details.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • While liability insurance is not mandatory for boating in Georgia, it is a good idea to have liability insurance to tide over troubles if you or someone operating your boat is involved in a boating accident.
  • Read the course material for the Boater Education Course, approved by the DNR.
  • See how to register your boat in Georgia.
  • Check the contact information of Georgia's DNR by county.
 

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