Washington: Washington State has mandatory boater education requirements.
No person under 12 years old may operate a boat with 15 horsepower or more.
The following rule will be phased in beginning 1/1/2008: All persons operating a boat with 15 horsepower or more must have completed a boating safety course approved by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission and must have a boater education card. The phase-in periods are as follows:
January 1, 2008: All operators 20 years and younger.
January 1, 2009: All operators 25 years and younger.
January 1, 2010: All operators 30 years and younger.
January 1, 2011: All operators 35 years and younger.
January 1, 2012: All operators 40 years and younger.
January 1, 2013: All operators 50 years and younger.
January 1, 2014: All operators 60 years and younger.
Exceptions: The following chart is copied from the website of the Washington State Parks Commission. Please visit that website for more information.
Persons Exempt from Washington State boater education requirements:
|People born before 1/1/1955||No card needed.|
|Operators of commercial fishing boats||When operating a recreational vessel must have valid commercial license or Boating Safety Education Card.|
|Operators with U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) marine operator license||When operating a recreational vessel must have valid USCG operator license or Boating Safety Education Card.|
|Operators of exempt vessels||When operating a recreational vessel must have Boating Safety Education Card.|
|Operators of rented, leased or chartered vessels||When operating a livery vessel, must have a copy of the Commission-approved educational checklist in lieu of Boating Safety Education Card.|
|An operator who is a resident of another state or country||Does not need card for first 60 consecutive days. After this must have Washington Boater Education Card.|
|An operator who is a resident of another state or country who has a valid card from that state or country||Does not need card for first 60 consecutive days. After this must have Washington Boater Education Card.|
|A person purchasing a vessel||For the first 60 days after purchasing a vessel, the bill of sale showing date of purchase is valid in lieu of a Washington Boating Education Card.|
|A person not yet required to have a card||No card needed until date of phasing in. See above table on phase-in dates|
To see options for Washington State boater education courses click here: http://www.parks.wa.gov/boating/boatered/?subject=courseoptions
Canada: Canada has mandatory boater competency requirements.
Except for non-residents operating a vessel in Canadian waters for less than 45 consecutive days, all persons operating a pleasure craft fitted with an engine must have proof of competency and proof of age on board at all times. For Canadian residents this means possession of a Pleasure Craft Operator Card. (PCOC). For U.S. residents, this means you must have a state boater Card (even if you are exempt inside your State) if you will be in Canada waters for 45 days or more or if you plan to operate a Canadian licensed or registered vessel. There is no age exemption in Canada. For more information consult the Pleasure Craft Operator Card page.
Non-residents may prove competency as follows:
Canada issued pleasure craft operator card.
Completed boat rental safety check-list.
An operator card or equivalent card that meets the requirement of their state or country.
Persons under 12 years not directly supervised by someone 16 years or older may operate a recreational vessel with 10 HP or less.
Persons 12, 13, 14 & 15 not directly supervised by someone 16 years or older may operate a recreational vessel with 40 HP or less.
Only persons 16 or over may operate a personal watercraft, regardless of supervision.
There are subtantial federal and provincial fines for violations.
To read the Canadian law, visit the Canada Department of Justice webpage.