The process to receive a boating license in Ohio can be easily completed by residents. Specific steps for how to get a boating license must be followed in order for boaters to be granted driving privileges. These steps are used to check the eligibility of license applicants. Eligibility standards are based on age, residency status and boating safety knowledge. Education classes are required in order for residents to receive valid certification.

Both in-person and online boating license classes are available to residents. Varying fees are applied, depending on the process used by applicants. Certificates are only granted to drivers who successfully complete the final examination and pay all associated costs. Discover additional information on obtaining boating privileges in Ohio by reading the following sections.

Do you need a license to drive a boat in Ohio?

Getting a boat license is necessary for all new boaters living in Ohio. Certification of taking an education course serves as a boating permit in the state. Residents above a certain age are allowed to operate watercraft, but must complete the required education components to legally drive boats.

Taking boaters safety courses is also helpful for learning practices for operating watercraft and staying safe on lakes, rivers and other waterways. When drivers decide to get a license, they can begin completing the required application steps.

Ohio Boating License Requirements

In Ohio, boating license applicant age, residency status and education level is used to determine eligibility for driving privileges. State residents born after January 1, 1982 are required to obtain licenses if they wish to operate a watercraft with over 10 horsepower. Education courses should be approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators to be considered valid.

Children are allowed to operate boats as long as they complete the required education components. However, for personal watercraft like jet skis, age rules apply. Residents younger than 12 years of age cannot operate personal watercraft. Children ages 12 to 15 can only operate watercraft under the supervision of an adult age 18 or older.

The boat license requirement is waived for drivers born before 1982. Additionally, the following groups are exempt from these standards:

  • Residents with Merchant Marine credentials
  • Residents with Coast Guard credentials

Getting a Boating License in Ohio

To receive boater education cards in Ohio, drivers must take safety courses in the state. These classes teach valuable safety lessons to students. A required number of hours must be attended in order for boating privileges to be granted. Additionally, a final examination covers the concepts introduced.

Residents must pass the final exam in order to receive licenses. Online, classroom and home study courses are available. The steps for receiving boating license certification in the state include the following actions:

  1. Choose a specific method for taking education courses.
  2. Enroll in a class via an approved agency. Various third-party organizations offer courses at varying costs.
  3. Attend all required hours of the course.
  4. Study for the final examination by going over the concepts covered in the class.
  5. Pass the final boat card test by answering at least the minimum required number of questions correctly.
  6. Pay any fees due at the time of application.

When the following steps are successfully completed, licenses are granted to new boaters.

Ohio Boater Safety Courses

The options for receiving education include online boaters safety courses, in-classroom and home study classes. All of these methods cover important safety practices and relevant laws in the state. Students must understand the concepts covered to score appropriately on the final examination.

Additionally, residents must follow these safety standards and laws to maintain licenses. The following information is taught during safety courses:

  • How to navigate waterways and operate motorized water vessels
  • How to safely practice water sports
  • Responding to emergency situations on the water
  • Boating laws specific to Ohio

Renewing and Replacing Ohio Boating Licenses

Boater exam certification documents are required to remain on drivers when operating water vessels. If certificates are lost or stolen, they should be replaced immediately. Boaters can complete the replacement process by contacting the Ohio Division of Parks and Watercraft.

To request a replacement card in Ohio, boaters can email the state agency mentioned above. Additionally, applicants may visit a state field office to obtain replacements. Temporary 45-day certificates are also available in person for drivers who need a physical permit immediately.

In many cases, online boating course certificates may only be replaced by directly contacting the agency where the privileges were administered.

Ohio Boat Registration Basics

In Ohio, boat registration is necessary for any residents who own boats. Additionally, boat titles must be acquired along with registration. Exact title and registration requirements are dependent on the type of watercraft owned by a driver. For example, certain types of motorized water vessels are exempt from these requirements.

Drivers must show the following documents to obtain registration and titles:

  • Proof boat ownership
  • Proof of identity
  • Bill of sale certificate, if necessary

When boat registration stickers are administered, they must be placed on watercraft and boats in the appropriate area. Registration and titles should be renewed periodically, when necessary.

Replacement registrations can also be acquired through the Division of Parks and Watercraft. Drivers can submit requests online, by mail or in person. There is no fee for obtaining a replacement card.

Ohio Boating Rules and Regulations

Boating regulations are strictly enforced on boat drivers in Ohio. These regulations are used to ensure safety is maintained while residents enjoy watersports. Boat requirements create an environment that protects swimmers and preserves natural areas.

Understanding following the rules established is useful for drivers to stay safe while operating motorized vehicles in the state. The following laws apply to Ohio boaters:

  1. Drivers cannot operate boats or personal watercraft under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  2. Acceptable life jackets should be kept on board and worn by the required individuals.
  3. Drivers below age 12 cannot operate watercraft such as jet skis.
  4. Bells and whistles should be equipped on boats above a certain length.
  5. Fire extinguishers should be equipped on boats above a certain length.

Further rules can be found in the official state boater guide.

Ohio Boating License Fees

Boating certificate fees vary widely throughout Ohio. The agency offering education courses sets the price of services and examinations. However, taking the home study course is always free for state residents. To obtain replacement registration cards and education certificates, there is no cost assessed by the state.

Last updated on Friday, March 6 2020.