Boating education

What type of mandatory education is required to boat in Florida?

There are two types of education courses that may be required.

The first type of course includes any NASBLA/State of Florida-approved boating safety education course. This course must be completed following the date of the violation which triggered the education requirement. Proof of completion must be filed with the FWC’s Boating and Waterways Section.

The second type is the course for violators. This is a four-hour course that is available online. Unlike the boating safety education course requirement, there is only one approved violator course, and it is available at  (A fee is required to take this course.)

What determines which course or courses I have to take?

The type of violation you have been convicted of determines which education course(s) you must complete.

If you have been convicted of any criminal boating violation, you must comply with the mandatory education requirements # 1 and # 2 as described in the answer to the next frequently asked question.


Criminal boating violations include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Failure to report a boating accident or render aid
  • Unlawfully leaving the scene of a boating accident
  • Reckless operation of a vessel
  • Boating under the influence of alcohol or other drugs
  • Refusal to submit to a chemical test (2nd or subsequent refusals)
  • Operating a vessel while privilege to operate is suspended
  • Skiing while impaired/under the influence
  • Reckless operation of a personal watercraft
  • Allowing a person under 14 to operate a personal watercraft
  • Mooring to or damaging a navigation marker, regulatory sign or buoy
  • Violation of a safety/security zone
  • Holding a marine event without permit or notification of authorities
  • Violation of regulations pertaining to rental vessels
  • Vessel title/registration fraud
  • Crimes relating to altering/removing a hull identification number  

If you have been convicted of an infraction that resulted in a reportable boating accident, you must comply with the mandatory education requirements #1 and #2 as described in the answer to the next frequently asked question.

A reportable boating accident occurs when the operator of a vessel is in any manner involved in an accident resulting in:

  • personal injury requiring medical treatment beyond first aid,
  • death of a person,
  • disappearance of a person under circumstances which indicate the possibility of death or injury, or
  • damage to a vessel or other property which totals $2,000 or more.

What can you do if you think there has been an error and don’t think you should have to take either of these courses?

  • The information the FWC receives regarding the qualifying events (boating safety infractions/criminal boating violations) and the disposition of the cases comes from the local offices of the county clerks. Even if an FWC law enforcement officer issued the citations in a case, the FWC does not send out a notice of the requirement to take the course for violators until we receive information from a clerk’s office that an individual has been convicted of the violation(s). Individuals should contact the clerk’s office in the county where the violation(s) occurred in order to discuss or correct the records.


  • Can I still operate a boat if I have not successfully completed the mandatory education for violators requirements?
  • No. For those persons subject to these mandatory education requirements, their privilege to operate a boat in Florida is suspended until proof of course completion is filed with the FWC.


  • How do I file proof of completion for either mandatory education course with the FWC so I can get back out on the water?

  • Requirement #1: Upon completion of the NASBLA/State of Florida-approved boating safety education course , a certification of successful completion must be submitted within 90 days to:

  • Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
    Division of Law Enforcement
    Boating and Waterways Section
    620 South Meridian Street
    Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600

  • The responsibility of ensuring that proof of completion is sent to the FWC rests with the person who is required to complete the mandatory education.