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How to Apply For a Boating License in Mississippi

Mississippi requires a Boater Education Card for boaters, and not a boating license. The regulatory authority for the card is Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Office of Marine Patrol. The card is mandatory for all boat operators born after June 30, 1980; older boaters do not require the card.

A person under the age of 12 cannot operate a boat even if he/she has a Boater Education Card without the supervision of someone over the age of 21.

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.


To obtain the Boater Education Card, you must complete a boater education course approved by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Office of Marine Patrol, or pass an approved equivalency test. The MDWFP can help you find a classroom if you want to take classes before attending the exam to obtain the certificate.

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. The classroom option offered by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Office of Marine Patrol.
    • The course duration is a minimum of six hours.
    • To pass the course, you must get 80% of the answers right on the exam administered at the end of the course.
  2. The Boater Education Card is either handed out at the end of class, or mailed to you within 45 days.
  3. Only the card issued after a classroom course is recognized in most other states, and by many insurance companies for insurance discounts.
  4. An approved online and home-study option offered by Boat Mississippi.
  5. This course may take up to 8 hours to complete; some options require you to complete the course in one sitting.
  6. Course materials are free. Some providers charge a fee for exams or the card: check providers' websites for details.
  7. A temporary card may be printed after passing the online exam; the permanent card will be mailed to you.


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


To replace a card, contact the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Office of Marine Patrol with proof of course completion. 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.


  • While liability insurance is not mandatory for boating in Mississippi, 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 Mississippi Boating Guide and Boating Rules for more information.
  • See common questions on how to register your boat in Mississippi.
  • Check the contact information of Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Office of Marine Patrol.

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