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The Official Kentucky Boating License

The Official Kentucky Boating Course, Test and License is required for all unaccompanied boaters between ages 12 and 17. Designed for North American Boaters from coast-to-coast.
GET YOUR LICENSE Animated, narrated & perfect for all ages.
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Need Your Kentucky Boater Card?

BOATsmart! is the easiest and fastest way to get your Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Approved Boater Education Card (or boating license). We include everything you need.

1. Study Online

Study up with the Official Kentucky Boating Safety Course. Animated and narrated lessons put you in the captain’s seat. Anywhere, on any device and perfect for all ages.

2. Ace the test

It’s easy. Our Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources approved multiple-choice test is open book with unlimited free retries. Basically, you’re guaranteed to pass and it’s good for life!

3. Get on the water

Once you pass the test, you can print your temporary card and use it immediately. Your permanent Kentucky Boater Education Card, the official Kentucky Boating License, will arrive by mail within four weeks.

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Proud to be North America’s Boating Educator. Join the crew!

Do you need a license to drive a boat?

In Kentucky you need a Kentucky Boater Education Card if you are 12 to 17 years old, are unaccompanied, and will be operating a motorized vessel over 10 hp.

Try the test for free

Not sure what to expect? Try the Practice Test for free and test your knowledge.
Try it now

Try the test for free

Not sure what to expect? Try the Practice Test for free and test your knowledge.
Try it now

Watch, listen
& learn

Animated, narrated & perfect for all ages.

Animated lessons
make it easy

Our animated, narrated and interactive lessons guide your learning experience and help you pass.

Everything you need
included

The BOATsmart!® Course includes all the knowledge you need to pass the test and boat with confidence.

Study at your
own pace

BOATsmart!® automatically tracks your progress on any device. Take it anywhere, anytime.

Designed for all ages
& skill levels

Designed by boaters and subject matter experts just for you.

Kentucky Boating Knowledge Base

Kentucky Boater Card
Frequently Asked Questions

DO I NEED A BOATER EDUCATION CARD IN KENTUCKY?
 
Kentucky has a Mandatory Boater Education requirement for boaters 12-17 years of age. If you’re in this age bracket and you’re operating a motorized boat powered by an engine of 10hp or greater, you’ll be required to take a Kentucky Boating Safety Course and Official Boating Safety Test that has been approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). By completing and passing the BOATsmart! Kentucky Boating Safety Course, you’ll meet the boater education requirements for the state.
 
WILL MY BOATSMART! CARD EVER EXPIRE?
 
Your BOATsmart! Card will never expire. But stay in touch after you pass the test – BOATsmart! offers free, online refresher lessons that will help you keep your boating skill and knowledge up to date as years pass and boating regulations change.
 
IS THE KENTUCKY BOATER EDUCATION CARD THE SAME THING AS A KENTUCKY BOATING LICENSE?
 
The Official Kentucky Boater Education Card is commonly referred to as a ‘Boating License’ or ‘Boat License Card’.
 
DO I NEED A DRIVER’S LICENSE TO OPERATE A MOTORIZED BOAT?
 
No – a driver’s license is not required to operate a watercraft in Kentucky. However, you may be required to carry a Boater Education Card on board at all times while operating a motorized boat, depending on your age and the horsepower of your boat’s motor.
 
WHAT IS THE PENALTY IN KENTUCKY FOR OPERATING A MOTORIZED BOAT WITHOUT A BOATER EDUCATION CARD?
 
You will recieve a fine if you’re caught operating a boat in the state of Kentucky and you are required to have a boating license on board during operation. In Kentucky, officers often issue a ticket to the legal guardian of the minor who was caught boating without a boating license. The citation is for $50 + court costs. Avoid the fine, get certified with your BOATsmart! Boater Education Card today!
 
WHAT DO I DO IF I LOSE OR DESTROY MY KENTUCKY BOATER EDUCATION CARD?
 
If your BOATsmart! Boater Education Card is missing or has been destroyed, you can easily purchase a Replacement Card from BOATsmart! for $9.95 per card. Give us a call and we will send you a new BOATsmart! Card in the mail. Toll free 1-877-655-7778.
 
WILL MY Kentucky BOATING EDUCATION I.D. CARD BE VALID FOR BOATING IN OTHER STATES?
 
Yes! The BOATsmart! Card is accepted in 40 other states, which extend reciprocity to certified boaters. This law applies to operators of motorized boats (who have taken and passed a NASBLA approved boating safety course), but does not apply in all states to operators of personal watercraft (PWCs). Always check the boating laws in the state you plan to visit before operating a boat or PWC there.
 
WHAT HAPPENS IF IT TAKES ME LONGER THAN 3-HOURS TO COMPLETE THE BOATSMART! COURSE? WILL I NEED TO START OVER?
 
The 3-hour timer is only a minimum requirement. You’re free to spend as much time as you need in the BOATsmart! Knowledge Base before taking the Final Test.
 
DO COMMERCIAL BOAT OPERATORS NEED A BOATER EDUCATION CARD?
 
Any person who operates a motorized boat in the United States should participate in boater education. The BOATsmart! Safe Boating Course covers all aspects of safe boating and responsible boat operation on U.S. waterways. Boaters of any age and ability are encouraged to participate in the BOATsmart! certification program.
 
DO VISITORS FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES NEED TO OBTAIN A KENTUCKY BOATER EDUCATION CARD TO GO BOATING IN KENTUCKY?
 
A Boater Education Card or Boating License, issued to a non-resident by their state or country will be accepted by Kentucky’s law enforcement so long as it is carried on board during boat operation.
 
WHO ENFORCES KENTUCKY’S BOATING LAWS AND ISSUES FINES?
 
Kentucky’s lakes and riverways are patrolled by law enforcement to keep the waters a safe place for you and your family to spend your time when boating and enjoying Kentucky’s vast waterways. Always comply with Kentucky’s boating law authorities – they’re out there to keep you safe! Play by the rules – make sure you have your Kentucky Boating License if you’re required to carry one when operating a motorized boat. If caught boating without one, you may recieve a fine. There are three boating law authorities in the state of Kentucky:

Officers of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR)

The U.S. Coast Guard (on federal waters)

All other peace officers on the state
 

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Boating in Kentucky

Trusted and recognized from coast to coast

Go boating in Kentucky – it’s easy to get on the water when there are lakes and rivers flowing all throughout the state. Kentucky offers the perfect landscape for boating and fishing!
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