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Arkansas Boating Courses
Safety Education Requirements

Age and Education Requirements

In Arkansas, no one born after January 1, 1986 is permitted to operate a water vessel or PWC without having passed Arkansas' mandatory boater safety education course.

A person under 12 years of age must satisfy the boating education requirement AND be under the direct supervision of someone at least 18 years old.

A person over 12 years of age must satisfy the boating education requirement if born on or after January 1, 1986.


The Boating Education Requirement is Waived for:

  • Boaters born before January 1, 1986.
  • Non-residents who hold an approved Boater Education Card / Certificate from another state.

We strongly advise all boaters of all ages to take boating safety courses throughout their years of boating.

The Course

You can find many boaters’ education classes online. It's important that the course you choose meets the minimum standards set by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).

These standards include but are not limited to:

  • Getting to Know Your Boat: Understanding Boat Capacities and Registration Requirements
  • Boat Safety Equipment: Personal Flotation Devices, Lighting, Distress Signals, Fire Extinguishers, etc.
  • Trip Planning and Preparation: Preventative Maintenance, Checking Hazards, Filing a Float Plan
  • The Marine Environment: Pollution Laws and Ways to Protect our Waterways
  • Safe Boat Operation: Operator Responsibilities, Navigation Rules and Aids,
  • Emergency Preparedness: Rendering Assistance, Handling Emergencies, Legal Responsibilities
  • Other Water Activities: Water Skiing, Fishing, Hunting etc.
  • Arkansas' Boating Laws

Six to 13 lessons / units comprise most of the online boating courses. At the end of each lesson, a quiz is given. You must pass the quiz with a minimum score of 70% before going to the next unit.

You can also take the course in a classroom setting. Click here for a current schedule of classes offered in Arkansas.

If you are under 18 and want to take the free classroom course offered by the Arkansas Game and Fishing Commission (AGFC), you must have your parent's permission. Click Boating Education Parental Permission Slip to download Arkansas' Boating Education Parental Consent Form.

You must pass a final exam with a score of 80% or higher to receive the required boater's safety certificate.

Once you’ve successfully completed the Boating Safety Education Exam you must get your Boater's Card / Certificate. Our page on Arkansas' Vessel Operator's License explains how.

Continuing Education

As a boat operator you have a responsibility to keep up-to-date with new boating laws and safety information. In addition to knowing the changes in Arkansas, you must also be aware of the rules in the states where you plan on boating. A data base of all courses approved by NASBLA can be found here.

Skills-based and/or advanced courses involving navigation, piloting, etc., are also available.