Who needs a Boater Education ID Card in Pennsylvania?
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission requires anyone born after January 1, 1982, to successfully complete a NASBLA– and state-approved boater safety course in order to operate a vessel powered by a motor of more than 25 horsepower or personal watercraft (PWC) on Pennsylvania waterways. Boat operators are required to carry a proof of boater education. All PWC operators must complete an approved boater safety course, regardless of age.
OBTAINING YOUR PENNSYLVANIA BOATING LICENSE
You can obtain your Pennsylvania boating license by taking the online BOATsmart! Course – you’ll be on the water with confidence in just a few hours.
WHAT ARE PENNSYLVANIA’S LIFE JACKET REQUIREMENTS
All boats must have a USCG-approved wearable life jacket on board for each person.
Life jackets must be the appropriate size for the person intended. Check the life jacket label to ensure it’s the appropriate size for the person wearing it and make sure the jacket fits.
Life jackets must be appropriate for the activity for which they are worn. Check the USCG approval label for information.
In addition to wearable life jackets, boats 16 feet and over must have a Type IV throwable device (ring buoy, life ring or buoyant seat cushion) on board. Canoes and kayaks, regardless of length, are not required to carry a throwable device.
A throwable device may not be used as a substitute for a wearable device.
In Pennsylvania, passengers 12 years of age and under on Commonwealth waters are required to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket while underway on any boat that is under 20 feet in length and when riding in or operating, canoes and kayaks.
Any person operating or riding on a PWC is required to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
Any person being towed by a boat is required to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
Any person operating a sailboard (windsurfer) is required to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
- When on Pittsburgh District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes, each person on board a boat that is under 16 feet in length, or in a canoe or kayak, must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
- Any person on board a kayak, a canoe, or any boat under 16 feet in length, between November 1st until April 30th at midnight, is required to wear a Type I, II, III or V life jacket while the boat is underway or at anchor.
PENNSYLVANIA BOATING LICENSE REQUIREMENTS FOR PERSONAL WATERCRAFTS (PWCS)
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission requires all PWC operatorsto successfully complete a NASBLA– and state-approved boater safety course in order to operate a personal watercraft (PWC) on Pennsylvania waterways.
BOATING AND ALCOHOL
No person shall operate any boat on Pennsylvania waters while they are under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination thereof. Alcohol is prohibited on land and water at all state parks and at most U.S. Army Corps of Engineer projects.
In Pennsylvania, a person is considered to be under the influence if
- They have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 or higher and are over 21 years of age
- They have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.02 and are under 21 years of age.
In Pennsylvania, a person convicted of operating a boat while under the influence will be subject to the following penalties: the loss of their boating privileges for up to one year, significant fines and imprisonment.
Any person operating a boat on Pennsylvania waters shall be deemed to have given consent to a chemical test or tests of their breath, blood and urine for the purpose of determining the alcohol content of their blood and the presence of any abused substance or controlled dangerous substance. The testing may be required of a person when an officer has probable cause to believe the person is operating under the influence.
PENNSYLVANIA’S BOAT ACCIDENT REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
A boat operator involved in a boating accident is required to:
- Stop their boat at the scene.
- Render assistance to any person who has been injured or who is in danger so long as they can do so without risking their safety or their passenger’s safety.
- Provide their name, address and boat information in writing, to any person who was injured and to the owner of any property that was damaged as a result of the accident.
If any of the following occur as a result of a boat accident, the PFBC must be immediately notified, followed by a written accident report within 48 hours:
- If a person has been injured and requires medical treatment beyond first aid.
- If a person has disappeared from the boat.
- If a person has been killed.
If property damage has occurred in excess of $2,000, or if there is complete loss of a boat, an accident report must be submitted to the PFBC within 10 days of the accident.
Boating Accident Report Forms are available on the Commission’s website. Reports must be sent to:
PA Fish & Boat Commission, Bureau of Law Enforcement
P.O. Box 67000
Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000