Updates Related to COVID-19 »

Ways to Take a Boating Safety Course

Following are the various ways that you can take a boating safety course, including classroom, home study and online. Some have an associated cost, while others are free — find the one that suits you best and make sure you are safe on the water! Once you complete the course, the course completion certificate or card that is provided by the course provider is what is required to operate a vessel.

Classroom Course

NOTICE: In an effort to protect public health and reduce overall spread of COVID-19, we have canceled all Boater Education classroom courses until further notice. Please check other options listed below for ways to take a boating safety course.

Classroom courses are provided by:

  • DWR Boat Virginia Course FREE of charge to the public. Pre-registration may be required and is recommended since classes fill fast.
  • US Coast Guard Auxiliary (Courses may include some cost to cover materials generally $25–40. Ask for full details from class contact person before enrolling. Prices are listed beside the course.
  • U.S. Power Squadrons (Courses may include some cost to cover materials depending on the course, generally $25–50. Ask for full details from the class contact person before enrolling. Prices are listed beside the course.

See the Class Schedule – Courses with a fee will be clearly marked in the special instructions for each class.

Approved Interactive Online Course Providers

  • These courses are provided by commercial vendors and are not administered by DWR.
  • These courses are interactive, requiring the student to interact with the course in order to pass modules and exam.
  • These courses do not require timers and can be completed at any pace so long as each module and exam is successfully passed.
  • They are NASBLA Approved and accepted by DWR; however, DWR does not maintain their student records.
  • Any of these courses will meet Virginia’s Boating Safety Education Requirement.
  • Many of these providers are fee-based, with fees paid directly to the course provider on a “no pass, no pay” basis.
  • Should you need to contact them for information or to obtain a replacement certificate, please call them directly at the numbers listed below:
  • iLearntoBoat (Fee-Based Course) iLearntoBoat 1-800-830-2268

Approved Online Course Providers

  • These courses are provided by commercial vendors, and are not administered by DWR.
  • They are NASBLA Approved and accepted by DWR; however, DWR does not maintain their student records.
  • Any of these courses will meet Virginia’s Boating Safety Education Requirement.
  • Many of these providers are fee-based, with fees paid directly to the course provider on a “no pass, no pay” basis. The prices range from Free to $29.95.
  • Should you need to contact them for information or to obtain a replacement certificate, please call them directly at the numbers listed below (these courses contain 3 hours of instruction and take approximately 4 hours to complete):

Approved Home Study Course Providers

  • Boat-Ed: Please call us at 804-367-9288 for information about a home study option.

Virginia Proctored Challenge Exam

If you are an experienced boater and have a good working knowledge of the navigation rules and Virginia boating laws, you may opt to take an 80-question challenge exam. These exams will be scheduled throughout Virginia. The exam is closed book, no reference material is allowed in the examination room. Virginia’s Watercraft Owner’s Guide or other online study material may be utilized to prepare for the exam. We do not offer a study guide.

Boating Workshops and Seminars (do not meet Virginia’s Education Requirement)

If you would like to learn more about boating, please check out the workshops and seminars offered by local United States Power Squadrons, United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, and other boating organizations. These workshops are short 2–3 hour seminars, workshops, and online courses. There may be a small fee associated with some course — be sure to read course description. Please note: workshops listed here do not meet Virginia’s education requirement.