|Virginia Boating Courses
Safety Education Requirements
Age and Education Requirements
To legally operate a vessel in Virginia, all persons older than the required minimum age (as outlined by the phase-in schedule) must successfully complete a boating safety education course approved by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).
On July 1, 2011, Virginia began its phase-in of the Education Compliance Requirement for all Virginia boaters. As of July 1, 2012 all PWC operators, regardless of age, and motorboat operators 30 years of age or younger are required to meet the boating education requirements by successfully completing a boating safety course before operating a vessel on Virginia waterways.
The phase in schedule will continue as follows:
Anyone who is able to take the exam is welcome to do so in Virginia. There is no minimum age requirement to take the boating safety course.
The Boating Education Requirement is Waived for:
We strongly advise all boaters of all ages to take boating safety courses throughout their years of boating.
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).
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.
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 Virginia, 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.