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How to Apply For a Boating License in New Hampshire

New Hampshire requires a Boater Education Card for boaters, and not a boating license. Though boating activities are governed by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, the regulatory authority for the card is New Hampshire Department of Safety. The Boater Education Card is available to operators who are at least 16 years old.

There is a restriction on the age of boat operators. If you are under 16 years of age, you are not allowed to operate a vessel with a motor greater than 25 hp unless under the direct onboard supervision of an adult with a Boater's Education Certificate.

The laws also 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 similar convictions.


If you are operating a vessel with a motor of 25 hp or less, you do not need a Safe Boating Education Certificate.


To obtain the Boater Education Card, you must complete a boater education course approved by the New Hampshire Department of Safety, 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. The classroom option offered by New Hampshire Department of Safety
    • The course duration is a minimum of eight hours.
    • To pass the course, you must get 80% of the answers right on the proctored final 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 option offered by Boat Ed,
  5. This course may take up to 8 hours to complete.
  6. Course materials are free. The provider charges a fee for the exam: check providers' websites for details. However the online exam will only prepare you for the final exam.
  7. The card will be mailed to you at a charge of $10, only after you have cleared the mandatory proctored final exam conducted by the NH, Department of Safety.
  8. The option of studying at home using approved course material, and passing a proctored exam. After you are done studying, you may walk into any exam center and give the exam.


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


To replace a card, complete the Boating Card Replacement Form and send it to
NH Boating Education, PO Box 1150, Belmont, NH 03220 along with a check for the replacement fee of $10 made payable to State of NH, Safety Services.


  • While liability insurance is not mandatory for boating in New Hampshire, 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.
  • See how to register your boat in New Hampshire.
  • Check the contact information of the New Hampshire, Department of Safety.

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