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Boating Courses

Boating education is crucial for safety on the water. Many states in the U.S. have mandatory boat operator licensing for younger boaters, and there is a growing movement to expand that to all boaters. The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary recently passed a resolution urging state legislatures to require mandatory boating safety education, regardless of age.

There are many safe boating courses offered throughout the country. Organizations such as the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Power Squadron sponsor many courses which satisfy requirements for State certification where required.. Visit their websites to find a boating course near you. You can also find a boating course near you at BoatUS. Many state boating agencies also provide classes.

NASBLA ( the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators) sets standards which serve as a guide for state, non-profit and commercial providers to follow in developing boating education materials.

Here are some online courses which are NASBLA approved and are recognized in many states:

American Boating Education - Welcome to the Internet’s best boating safety course and Your Fastest Way to the Water.

Boat U.S. Foundation Online Boating Safety Course - Our free, interactive, non-proctored course and exam has been approved by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and is recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard as exceeding the minimum requirements for the National Recreational Boating Safety Program.

Boat Ed Boating Safety Courses - All of Boat Ed's state-specific boating safety courses are approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and recognized by the United States Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety - A leading provider of safe boater education and certification across the United States and Canada. Our online boating safety course allows boaters to meet mandatory education requirements and to obtain their official boater education card or boating license online.

Boating Basics Online - Take a Boating Safety Course and Certification Test online.

Sailing Courses

U.S. Sailing Programs offer instruction in small and large sailboats, windsurfers, and powerboats. All levels of instruction are available around the country for beginner to advanced skills. Information on courses and instruction is available on their website. They also have online sailing and powerboat courses.

Most yacht clubs also offer boating or sailing courses for juniors and adults. For a list of yacht clubs worldwide, click here.

International Boating Courses

  • BOATsmart! Canada - BOATsmart! Canada is dedicated to enhancing boating safety and providing the best pleasure craft operator training and testing available in Canada.
  • Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons - Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons provide boating safety courses Canada wide, power and sail navigation courses and offers Canadian Coast Guard approved boating license courses at locations across Canada.
  • Canadian Yachting Association - The CYA is the national governing body for the sport of sailing. With over 70 years of training experience, the CYA is Canada's premier on-water training organization.
  • Canada's Office of Boating Safety - The Office of Boating Safety recommends that all boaters take a boating safety course. Find out where you can write the test and/or take a course in your area.
  • Safe Boater Training Program - The Safe Boater Training Program is Canadian Coast Guard accredited to Conduct Training, Administer Exam Testing and Issue a Pleasure Craft Operator Card and Certification.
New Zealand
  • Coastguard Boating Education - New Zealand's leading provider of recreational boating courses, with more than 40 core and specialty programmes available for all levels of knowledge and ability.
  • Yachting New Zealand - New Zealand yachting's governing body. Most of their affiliated clubs offer learn to sail classes.
United Kingdom

For additional resources, check our list of yacht, sailing and boating clubs and boating schools.

U.S. Coast Guard License Training

There are many businesses which offer U.S. Coast Guard Approved Courses for your Captain's License. For a list of some of these schools, click here.


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