Do You Need a Boating License to Rent a Boat?

I have been in the boat industry for a long time. I lost track of people who asked if I needed a license to rent a boat. My first question is always to confirm your state’s requirements. It is possible to rent a boat without a license in most states. Most states require boater’s education to be completed. The right age to rent a boat is determined by which state you live in. Is it necessary to have a license to rent a boat in the US?


The main question can be hard to understand. We need to know what’s going on. We need to know if the boat you rent will be operated by an experienced captain or not. If it is the latter, there is no need to worry about when you want to rent a pontoon without a license. The captain only needs to get a Captain’s License or a Master’s License. You can either skip the requirements in the next section or head straight to a boat rental service that will give you all the information you need.


Renting a boat is something you want to do alone. You don’t have to get a license for a sailboat that you’re meant to sail. You need to take a class like the one mentioned above in order to do that. Not all states or rental companies will require this certificate. The card or certificate shows that you have completed the course and know how to operate a boat. It’s a good bet that the rental company will ask you to take a boating education class before they lend you a boat.


These courses can be vouched for by me. Even for more experienced sailors, they are incredibly useful because you will get a lot of helpful tips.

They are easy to find online as well. There is a site called boat-ed.comIf you’re in Florida, you can learn the requirements and take the course directly here.


Whether you are in California or NY, the same thing will happen. You can change the state on the URL to the one you want. Not all states will be included due to the non-requirement in a few. The confusion stems from the definition. Some people wonder what makes a certificate different from a boaters license. A certificate is needed to sail a boat while a license is needed to be a professional boater. If you want to know if there is a requirement to fulfill before you can rent a boat in any state, then the answer is definitely yes. Every requirement has been outlined in the next section. There are general requirements to rent and operate a boat in the US.


The boater education certificate is for boaters. If you aren’t the one operating the boat, the captain will be. In some states, a valid driver’s license is present. It’s appropriate for your purpose to have a vessel that’s appropriate. The right gear for water activities. There are safety tools and equipment. There are requirements for licenses and certificates in every state. It is assumed that you will be operating a boat in any of these states.


Should a license be required?

Is an education certificate required?


Florida Rules. For people who were born on or after Jan 1, 1988 and have a 10hp+ vessel.


What is the cost of boat rentals?

There are some boat rental services that charge on a per day basis. You can rent a pontoon boat for $500 and it will cost you $2,000 a day. Some vessels cost more than $1,000 per hour. It is best to research online and offline rental services in your area. It was the conclusion.


It is easy to say no to the question, “Do you need a boat license to rent a boat?” since you will need the boater’s education card. Even though you can rent a boat, you still need to fulfill certain requirements. It is a good idea to ask your prospective rental company all the requirements you need to follow. From the beginning, my goal was to provide as much help as possible for boaters who want to experience a first safe and convenient trip Join us and share your journeys to our social media page.


Do I need a license to rent and operate a boat in Florida?

The short answer is no; the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which regulates boating, does not require a “boating license”. However, it does require that you be familiar with boating safety, which can be demonstrated in different ways.

Florida boating regulations

Navigating Florida boating regulations can be confusing, especially with some recent changes to the law. But in reality, the laws aren’t as confusing as they may appear on first glance.

If you intend to rent a boat in Florida and were born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, you will have to complete an approved boating safety course (easily found online), which will provide you with a Boating Safety Education Identification Card. Once you get this course certificate and card, it’s valid for life and does not require renewal. You must carry the card and photo identification with you while operating the vessel. Of course, there are many people who are exempt from this requirement:

What exemptions are there from this law?

-Any boater born before Jan. 1, 1988 is exempt from this law. Having someone on board your vessel who meets this requirement also exempts you, provided that this person is willing to oversee and take responsibility for the safety of the boat.

-Having another boater on board your vessel who has their Boating Safety Education Identification Card, who is also willing to oversee and take responsibility for the safety of the boat. This means that if you have a certified captain on the boat with you, you’re also free to take the wheel.

-Nonresident boaters who have completed a NASBLA- approved boating safety course or exam in another state. You must carry proof of this and a photo ID with you while operating the vessel.

How can I rent a boat if I don’t meet any of the exemptions above and don’t wish to get a Boating Safety Education Identification Card?


You can get a temporary certificate online which will allow you to rent and operate a boat in Florida from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at the link below. It remains valid for 90 days.

Are there any other Florida boating laws I should know about?


Yes, a few!

-Children under the age of 6 must wear a USCG-approved Type I, II or III personal flotation device any time the boat is unsecured or moving.

-You must also carry a USCG-approved life jacket for each person on board a recreational vessel, but except for children under 6, they are not required to be worn continuously.

-The DUI rules for boating are similar to those for drivers on the roads; that is, you can be pulled over on the water and breathalyzed to ensure that you’re not intoxicated while operating a vessel. While alcohol is certainly allowed on boats in Florida, consider choosing a designated driver or hiring a captain if you plan to consume it yourself.

-A person under the age of 14 cannot operate a boat in Florida.

Still confused by all these certificate and license regulations?

Please reach out on our contact page for more info, if you have any questions regarding these laws and requirements. We’re happy to help you navigate them and figure out what’s right for your individual situation.