South Carolina boating licenses are easily accessible to new drivers in the state. Certain steps for how to get a boating license are developed for applicants to follow. Residents should take driving privileges seriously to maintain safe state waterways. Following safety rules and regulations is important when operating motorized water vessels and boats. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources establishes these laws. Applicants for education cards must meet eligibility standards to be granted licenses.

In the state, in-person and online boating license classes are offered to residents. Prices for each of these methods vary. Overall, drivers should choose the method that most fits with their schedule. Once boating privileges are granted, keeping safety certificates while operating water vessels is required. Learn more about the process of obtaining licenses and related information in South Carolina the following sections.

Do You Need a License to Drive a Boat in South Carolina?

Getting a boat license is always required when operating motorized water vessels in South Carolina. Specific age and residency eligibility standards are established in the state. Safety courses must be attended for licenses to be obtained. Residents must keep their safety course completion certificate handy when driving boats.

South Carolina Boating License Requirements

In South Carolina, boating license applicant age is an important factor in determining eligibility for obtaining driving privileges. Only residents 16 years of age and older can apply for licenses if they wish to operate watercraft in the state. Residents younger than 16 years of age cannot operate boats or personal watercraft.

Education courses must be approved by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to be considered valid. This certification ensures that education courses cover the proper material that new boaters should learn.

Getting a Boating License in South Carolina

In South Carolina, getting boater education cards is a simple procedure that can be completed by state residents. However, applicants should understand each step involved to avoid having issues come up during this process. Doing this also helps residents avoid any surprises from arising when applying for boating privileges. The following boating license certification steps are used in the state:

  1. Decide whether online or in-person courses are more fitting for your everyday schedule.
  2. Check with third-party agencies to determine which specific class to take. Course costs vary based on the price dictated by the institution providing education.
  3. Attend the online or in person class for the required amount of hours.
  4. Prepare for the final boat card test by going over the SC boaters guide and any additional information covered during class.
  5. Take the final examination. Drivers must pass the test by getting a specific amount of questions correct.
  6. Pay all applicable fees, if necessary. Remember that only certain types of payment methods are accepted.

When fees are paid and the final exam is passed, certificates are granted by the state.

South Carolina Boater Safety Courses

Both in-person and online boaters safety courses are available to residents of South Carolina. These methods of education cover the same concepts for students. The information provided includes safety practices when operating motorized watercraft and boats, emergency situation response and relevant laws and regulations. Understanding this information is helpful for drivers to navigate waterways safely today and in the future.

Renewing and Replacing South Carolina Boating Licenses

In South Carolina, boater exam certification forms must stay on drivers when operating motorized water vessels. Drivers should ensure they request replacement certificates as soon as possible when documents are lost or stolen. Failing to produce forms in situations involving law enforcement could result in fines and/or tickets being applied.

An official request for a replacement card can be submitted to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources online or by mail. Replacement online boating course certificates are mailed upon receipt and approval of requests.

South Carolina Boat Registration Basics

Boat registration must be obtained by new boaters who own motorized water vessels in the state. In addition, boat titles should also be acquired. Eligibility standards are established to ensure drivers are able to own these items in the state. In order to title and registration eligibility, the following forms of documentation must be provided by applicants:

  • Proof of boat or watercraft ownership
  • One or more proofs of identity
  • Bill of sale certificate, if applicable

Next, applicants should pay registration and titling fees as necessary in full. Only approved payment methods are acceptable. When payments are certified, boat registration stickers are mailed to SC boaters who own boats or watercraft. The stickers have to be placed on water vessels and/or boats in the appropriate visible spot. Law enforcement should be able to easily locate stickers to find out important registration information.

Replacements can be obtained by South Carolina residents. Boaters should request forms by submitting online or mail-in applications for replacement documents.

South Carolina Boating Rules and Regulations

South Carolina boating regulations are used to help maintain order on waterways in the state. Motorized water vessels and boat are potentially dangerous to boaters, swimmers, wildlife and natural areas. Boat requirements help curb the possibility of safety issues arising by protecting all of these parties.

Safe driving laws ensure boaters and swimmers are not injured when enjoying SC lakes, rivers and beaches. Additionally, these requirements help conserve natural areas and keep wildlife thriving. Failing to adhere to safety rules could result in issues arising with law enforcement. Tickets, fines and arrests could be imposed. Examples of South Carolina boating laws include:

  • Boats and personal watercraft should not be operated under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Every boat and water vessel owned by SC residents must be registered with the state.
  • Boat registration must be renewed periodically.
  • Bells and whistles should be used on boats above a certain length.
  • Fire extinguishers should be accessible on boats above a certain length.
  • Lifejackets should always be kept on board. One per person is the general rule.

South Carolina Boating License Fees

Boating certificate fees in South Carolina are as follows:

  • Online safety course: $29.50
  • In-person classroom course: free

Additionally, fees may be charged to obtain replacement boat licenses and/or registration in the state.

Last updated on Friday, December 7 2018.

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