Boater’s Safety Certification: The Importance of Education

Boating Safety

Boating is one of the best activities for anyone who enjoys being outside. Unfortunately, boating can also be dangerous if certain precautions are not followed. With the right training and knowledge, however, boating can be a safe, enjoyable hobby for many people. One of the ways to increase boating safety is to become certified in proper boating techniques, which may be easier than you think.


Legality, rules, and regulations aside, there is one universal reason you should become certified or get your boating license: safety. When you are formally trained on the latest techniques for safe and proper boating, you are far less likely to have any accidents.

According to the American Boating Association, there are over 7,000 boating accidents reported each year, and the U.S. Coast Guard has determined that 70% of these accidents are caused by human error—not craft or environmental conditions.

With lakes, rivers, channels, and other bodies of water becoming increasingly crowded, it stands to reason that with more people who are boat-safety certified, our waters will be much safer. If that’s not enough to convince you, there are also potential discounts on boat insurance for people who are licensed or certified. You could argue that boater’s safety training is not only a great way to increase your knowledge but also a great money-saving investment!


It’s simple to see how important boater’s safety training is for anyone who intends to operate a watercraft. But what are the actual rules and regulations? In this case, it depends on where you live, as each state sets their own guidelines for boating safety certifications and licenses.

For example, Scout’s home state of South Carolina requires that anyone younger than the age of 16 must complete boater’s education before operating a vessel powered by a 15 HP motor or larger without adult supervision. However, the state of Alaska has no requirements on boating certification whatsoever. It all depends on where you live and where you will be boating. Make sure you understand the regulations in your area before you cruise on the water.


Generally, the boater’s certification is available in two options: an instructor-led course and an online self-study. Both types give a strong foundational knowledge of boating safety, emergency procedures, and good seamanship. While there is usually a fee for the online courses, many of the instructor-led courses are free. The in-person courses are hosted in a wide variety of venues, including outdoor stores, churches, community buildings, parks, and college campuses.


When you enroll in these courses, either online or in-person, you will learn a wide variety of skills that make you a better boater. These include: how to identify approaching vs leaving boats in the dark, how to maintain stability in wakes, how to handle overboard situations, and more.

Whether you are legally required or not, we strongly encourage you to take a boating safety course. You have nothing to lose, and you can provide a much safer boating experience for you, your friends, your family, and other people on the water.


You can find a high-quality boat that will give you performance, reliability, and safety with Scout.

Visit Scout Boats today and check out our large selection of luxury fishing boats!