To get a boating license in North Dakota, drivers must take specific courses in the state. These classes cover safety requirements for operating watercraft that all residents should adhere to. Instead of being issued a separate license card, boaters receive a certificate for course completion. The ND Game and Fish Department develops the rules and regulations regarding boating on state waterways.

Understanding how to get a boating license begins with meeting the eligibility requirements for residents. These standards are established to ensure all drivers are practicing safe operation techniques. Additionally, eligibility rules are used to determine whether applicants are qualified to receive boating privileges. Find out further information on boat certification in North Dakota by reading the following sections.

Do You Need a License to Drive a Boat in North Dakota?

In North Dakota, all residents age 12 and older must take boaters safety courses to operate motorized vessels and personal watercraft in the state. Applicants can easily get a license by completing the required application steps.

These steps are used to ensure only eligible applicants receive ND boating privileges. This process is outlined in the following sections for the convenience of boaters.

North Dakota Boating License Requirements

Boater requirements are especially based on the age of boaters. In North Dakota, no person age 12 or younger is eligible to drive a motorized boat operating at over 10 horsepower.

Additionally, drivers ages 12 to 15 must be supervised by a licensed adult age 18 or older. An additional boat license requirement is that boaters must complete a final competency examination to be granted certification.

Getting a Boating License in North Dakota

North Dakota boater education cards are issued after successful completion of the boating education course offered in the state. Classes cover a variety of important topics for new boaters.

Drivers can choose the method for getting a certification that is most beneficial. Both online and in-person classes are available. Drivers can follow these steps to complete the application process:

  1. Enroll in an online or in-person safety class offered in the state.
  2. Take classes for the required amount of hours.
  3. Prepare for the final examination by studying concepts covered during classes. This information is also found in the state boaters guide.
  4. Pass the official boater exam administered at the end of courses.

Additionally, boaters must pay all required fees in order to get licenses. These are provided by mail only after the aforementioned steps are completed.

North Dakota Boater Safety Courses

Taking the safety course at a boating school is necessary for residents to receive water vessel operation privileges. Students have the choice of taking an in-person class, home study or online course. Home study courses are offered by the state and are free of charge.

There is no fixed cost for courses offered online or in person in North Dakota. Drivers should research to find the best option and price.

Renewing and Replacing North Dakota Boating Licenses

According to ND state law, boaters must have a boater exam certification form on them when operating motorized water vessels. Replacement should occur immediately if certificates are lost or stolen. Law enforcement agents may impose fines and/or tickets if boaters fail to produce documents when necessary.

An official request for a replacement card can be submitted to the Game and Fish Department. However, new online boating course certificates can only be obtained through the agency where they were administered. Drivers should contact these institutions directly to receive replacements.

North Dakota Boat Registration Basics

North Dakota requires drivers to maintain valid boat registration and titles on purchased watercraft. Requests for boat titles and registration should be sent to the Game and Fish Department. Exact title and registration requirements depend on the type of water vessel involved. Some types of boats are exempt from these standards.

To receive title and registration documents, drivers must show valid documentation. Examples of verification forms include proof of boat ownership, identity and bill of sale. Specific fees are also due at the time of application.

When boat registration stickers are administered, drivers should place them on owned water vessels in the state. Replacement registrations can also be acquired through the Game and Fish Department. Drivers should submit requests online or by mail sent to the following address:

North Dakota Game and Fish Department
100 N. Bismarck Expressway
Bismarck, ND 58501

North Dakota Boating Rules and Regulations

Boating regulations in North Dakota are especially important for new drivers to follow. These rules are developed to maintain safety on state waterways. Boat requirements are based on safety laws and regulations developed by the Game and Fish Department. Protecting boaters, swimmers and wildlife is an important part of safe practices on the water.

Additionally, these rules ensure the natural areas throughout ND are stable and healthy. Drivers should follow these boat requirements:

  • Coast Guard approved lifejackets should be on board for those required to wear life vests.
  • Children must wear lifejackets while riding in motorized watercraft.
  • Driving a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal and dangerous. If law enforcement catches boaters committing this crime, fines and/or tickets could be assessed. In some cases, arrests are made.
  • All boats owned in the state should be properly registered and titled.
  • Certain watercraft must have approved whistles and bells on board.

North Dakota Boating License Fees

Boating certificate fees vary depending on the learning method chosen by students. Additionally, the agency offering classes sets the official rate. Drivers should keep in mind that taking courses using the home study method is always free.

To obtain replacement licenses, fees may be charged by the state. These costs cover the processing and issuance of new certification forms.

Last updated on Thursday, March 7 2019.

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