Getting a boating license in Utah is the equivalent to taking the necessary education course for operating a personal watercraft. Utah boat boaters wondering how to get a boating license should first look into whether they are required to complete this education according to state law restrictions. In Utah, adults can operate water vessels without a license, while minors may be required to have the necessary education certificate to drive depending on their age and the type of vessel.

Utah boaters can earn an online boating license by enrolling in and completing an approved online education program. Boat operators can also choose to complete an in-person boat certification through the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) to meet the necessary state requirements. All boating service-related matters are overseen by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in Utah. To attend a boating program, students must pay the necessary enrollment fee and review the appropriate material. Read on to learn more about licenses for boating in Utah.

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

Getting a boat license is only necessary for certain classes of boat operators in Utah, primarily those under 18 years of age. Adult boaters do not need to have worry about where to get a boating license because the state does not require adults to have a license to operate a private motorized vessel or a personal watercraft on Utah territory.

Conversely, minors need proof of having taken the necessary education program in order to operate certain types of water vessels without the supervision of an adult. This process is similar to how minors obtain learner’s permits before they are allowed to drive, or before receiving a driver’s license.

Utah Boat License Requirements

The boating license age in Utah depends on the type of watercraft being operated, though it is generally accepted to be 16 years of age for most water vessels. Utah boat license requirements state that no person younger than 16 years of age is permitted to drive a motorized or sailboat without adult supervision under any circumstances. Adults older than 16 years of age can drive all types of common water vessels without restrictions.

The boating license age for the operation of personal watercraft is somewhat different in Utah. Once again, minors 16 years of age and younger cannot operate one without supervision. However, minors who are 16 or 17 years of age can earn the right to independently operate a personal watercraft without supervision if they complete a state-approved education program and receive the necessary certification.

Getting a Boat License in Utah

How long does it take to get a boating license for boaters who are required to take an education program in Utah? The recommended online boaters safety course options approved by the DNR generally take just a few hours to complete in full. The DNR does not currently list options for in-person courses. The online course provides permission to boaters 12 to 17 years of age to operate personal watercraft, such as jet skis or wave runners.

To get an online boating license, interested boaters can head to either of the recommended web portals and sign up for the appropriate Utah-approved course. Once the student is ready, he or she can begin reviewing the necessary material to prepare for the final course exam. At the completion of the course, the student can take the exam and pay the standard course fee if successful. Students who pass the course can then print their certificate to keep with them when operating an applicable personal watercraft.

Utah Boater Safety Courses

The boaters safety course for the operation of personal watercraft approved in Utah, also known as a Personal Watercraft Course (PWC), teaches boaters how to safely and legally personal water vessels according to state laws. Utah boaters must be at least 12 years of age to participate in a PWC boating course, although they cannot legally operate any personal watercraft without supervision until they are 16 years of age. Upon completion of the course, eligible course graduates can immediately begin operating covered water vessels with their temporary certificate of completion.

Adults can also enroll in an online boating course that is approved by the Utah DNR. Offered by the same companies as PWCs, adult education courses generally go more in-depth about operating different types of water vessels than their counterparts for minors. Adults can sign up and pay the course fee online in the same way that young boaters are required to.

Renewing and Replacing a Utah Boating License

Do boating licenses expire in Utah? The Utah certificate of completion received for completing an approved program does not expire. The primary reason that Utah issues a boat safety certificate for passing the necessary education course instead of a license is because the certificate has no expiration date. In general, a typical license would need to be renewed every so often in order to remain valid.

All applicable boat operators must keep their boater education card with them at all times when operating a water vessel. If their card is somehow lost or destroyed, they are required to print a replacement certificate offline by contacting the company that provided their course. The replacement process is usually just a matter of submitting an e-request and printing out a new copy of your existing certificate.

Utah Boat Registration Basics

Boat registration is required by all motorized boats and all sailboats operating in Utah waterways that were titled before 1985. Getting a boat title is part of the registration process and is usually handled at the same time while visiting the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Apply for the necessary decals is a matter of submitting a registration application, tax certificates and application fee to the DMV. Once correctly registered and titled, the water vessel must visibly display the correct decals on their boat.

In addition to displaying the necessary boat registration stickers, all boat operators should keep the necessary UT registration certificate and receipt on board at all times to make available for inspection as requested. Watercraft that are not present in Utah waterways for more than 60 days in any year are not required to be registered in the state. Inflatable water vessels are also exempt from state registration policies.

Utah Boating Rules and Regulations

Minors boating without a license in Utah will face serious penalties, similar to as if they were operating a motor vehicle on the roadways without the applicable license. Boat operators who are correctly licensed must meet state boat regulations at all times when operating any type of water vehicle anywhere throughout the state.

These boating laws were established with the purpose of keeping boaters and swimmers safe when enjoying Utah’s waterways. Some examples of notable boating rules that boaters of water vessels should take note of in Utah include:

  • All water vessels must have at least one wearable, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket on board for every person on the boat at all times.
  • Said life jackets must fit appropriately according to the age, weight and activity of expected occupants.
  • Boat passengers who are 12 years of age or younger must wear an approved life jacket at all times when the boat is in motion.
  • Similar state laws exist to prevent Boating under the Influence (BUI) in the same way as they do to stop driving motor vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In Utah, the same legal and criminal penalties apply (including fines and jail time) for operating any water vessel while intoxicated.
  • When passengers are sitting on bow decking, gunwales, seatbacks or motor cover, the boat may not exceed a wakeless speed.
  • Passengers may only ride on the bow decking if not blocking the view of the driver.
  • Water speed limits must be adhered to at all times.
  • A low to no-wake speed must be maintained at all times when within 150 feet of another boat, a person in the water, a water skier, shore angler, launch ramp, dock, or designated swimming areas.

Utah Boating License Fees

The boating license fee for taking the PWC or adult education course is typically between $30 and $40 in Utah. The UT DNR accepts NASBLA-approved courses taken outside of Utah, so other course price options may be found by looking outside of the state.

Last updated on Friday, March 6 2020.