Learning boating skills online may seem like a contradiction, but many course providers now offer the chance to do just that. Most states require anyone with a powerboat or personal watercraft to complete an approved boater safety course. With a few clicks, you can enroll, pay, study, and take your exam from the comfort of home.
Get online California boater exam test. Other online boater safety certifications are designed for specific types of water-based fun, from offshore sailing to canoeing on your local river. Here are our top choices for the best online boater safety courses.
Best Overall: America’s Boating Course
Why We Chose It: America’s Boating Course stood out for us as the best overall choice because of its comprehensive nature and downloadable, full-color course manual.
Approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and the U.S. Coast Guard, America’s Boating Course is one of the most in-depth online options out there. It is designed for users of all types of watercraft and will teach you the skills you need to keep safe on the water. Additionally, successful completion of the course’s final exam makes you eligible for your state boating card (in states that allow online certification).
Once you enroll, you will be given access to a downloadable manual by the United States Power Squadrons, a nonprofit dedicated to maritime safety. Content covered includes local laws and regulations, navigation rules, water sports safety, and boat maintenance. Use the review questions after each section to help you retain the information. After completing the final exam, all course materials will remain available including a series of useful printable forms (e.g. checklists and accident reports). The course costs $34.95 in most states.
Best Runner-Up: Boat Ed
Why We Chose It: We chose Boat Ed as our runner-up because of its well-designed and intuitive website and the multimedia nature of its online course.
Boat Ed is recognized by the Coast Guard and approved by NASBLA and your local state boating license agency. On the company’s homepage, you will be able to select your state and see the course cost and requirements at a single glance. In most states, the course costs $34.95. It is a particularly good choice for visual learners since it includes live-action, high-definition videos that bring potential boating scenarios to life.
You’ll also have access to a full course manual, which you can read on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. The course can be completed in just a few hours, but you also have the freedom to save your progress and log in and out whenever you like. You have unlimited attempts at the final exam, and in most states all you need to do upon passing it is print your online course completion certificate.
Best for Visual Learners: BOATERexam.com
Why We Chose It: We chose BOATERexam.com as the best option for visual learners because of its beautifully illustrated learning materials and exam questions.
NASBLA- and Coast Guard-recognized BOATERexam.com offers boater safety courses in 45 states and Canada. Each course is tailored to meet the specific requirements of each state, and every exam is approved by the relevant state agency. You can study on any device, from your smartphone to your desktop computer, using materials that have been designed especially for visual learners. You’ll also benefit from videos, animations, and full-color illustrations.
Best of all, every question on the final exam is also illustrated to help you get the best possible results. Once you pass the test, you can print a certificate of completion and go boating right away (depending on state laws) while you wait for your official boater education card to arrive in the mail. Live customer support is available every day from 9 a.m. to midnight EST. The course costs $29.95 and exam retakes are always free.