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Where To Get Ohio Boat License

How To Renew Your Captains License

How to Get Your Boating License | BOATsmart!®

Once you receive your captains license, we highly recommend not letting it expire. Even if you dont plan on using it in the near future, its still a good idea to keep renewing it and you only have to do it every five years. If you let it expire and then decide that you want to start operating boats again, youll have to satisfy all of the Coast Guard requirements for getting a captains license from scratch.

Renewing your license is easy. You will need:

  • 360 days of sea service within the last five years or a refresher course through a USCG-approved training school. These refresher courses can take as little as one day and cover Rules of the Road, Deck General and Deck Safety.
  • A completed application form for renewal this is the same form you use to get your original license, so be sure to specify youre renewing yours
  • DOT drug testing enrollment with proof of a test within the last six months
  • A USCG mariner medical examination the same type as for your original license
  • Payment of fees through the USCG website

If you do let your license expire, there is a one year grace period in which you can renew it without having to complete the full USCG exam again. Even if you decide to pursue another career, many people use their captains license after retirement. Its a great way to make some extra money and keep yourself busy on the water.

What Else Is Required For Ohio Boat Registration

A Personal Flotation Device are required for every person on the kayak, whether theyre paddling or not. Children under 10 years of age, on any vessel under 18 feet in length, are required to wear life jackets at all times while on the water. U.S. Coast Guard approved life vests should be used.

At least one Type IV flotation device should be kept on board boats over 18 feet in length.

For paddling between sunset and sunrise, you are also required to have a white light or lantern so your kayak is visible to other water users in the dark. And during these hours, if youre paddling on Lake Erie you are also required to carry visual distress signals.

You may also require additional safety equipment, particularly if your boat is motorized.

Boating fatalities are taken seriously…Having said that, you don’t need a fire extinguisher .

Video: Ohio Boating Safety Equipment Requirements

Exemptions From Boat Registration And Titling In Ohio

Is your boat exempt from registration in Ohio? is a question many boaters may encounter. Many may not realize how common boat registration exemptions in Ohio are, considering that the kinds of boats requiring registration make up a big list of vessels. Exempted vessels include those owned by out-of-state visitors that are registered in their state of residence.

Other boats that do not require registration and titling in Ohio include sailboards, kite boards, paddleboards, float tubes and belly boats are all exempt. Except for the above, all boats need registration in Ohio. However, not all boats need titles.

The following vessels are exempt from titling:

  • Vessels documented by the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Watercraft less than 14 long without a permanently affixed motor.
  • Watercraft less than 14 long with a motor powered by 10 horsepower or less.
  • Lifeboat of a ship.
  • Boats owned by government agencies.

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How To Choose A License Tonnage

The tonnage of license you receive is also dependant on boating experience.

A 100-ton license requires 180 days aboard boats over 51 gross tons or 360 days aboard boats over 34 gross tons.

A 50-ton license requires 180 days on boats over 26 gross tons if your service began after March 2014. If your sea service started before March 2014, you only need one day on a vessel over five gross tons. If you dont meet the requirements to make the 50-ton cutoff, youll receive a 25-ton license.

Figure out the gross tonnage of the boats you crewed on by either contacting the vessel owners or calculating it yourself with the USCG guide to tonnage.

Renewing Your Ohio Boat Registration

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To renew boat registration online in Ohio, boaters must visit the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Ohio State Parks & Watercraft online during the online renewal window, which is open from January through September. Other options for how to renew your boat registration renewal in Ohio include registering by mail or in person. For renewal by mail, send in the renewal form and payment to the address below.

DNR Watercraft Registration2045 Morse Road, Building A-1Columbus, Ohio 43229-6693

For in-person renewals, visit a Watercraft Registration Agent, calling first to ensure they offer the services needed. If renewing after November 1, ask if the agent offers year-round registrations.

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How Does Ilearntoboat Work

ilearntoboat is a gamified boater safety course that is built around real-life scenarios. Make choices for your avatar, and complete in-game challenges that allow you to move to the next level. Once you have successfully completed all the challenges and the final exam, you will receive your temporary boater education certificate.

Youre In Thecaptains Seat

BOATsmart! has been educating boaters since 2003 and is proud to be North Americas Largest independent course provider. Our courses are designed and developed from the ground up in North America for boaters, by real boaters. Each BOATsmart! Course is approved and accredited to prepare boaters to obtain their State Approved Boater Education Card, and all BOATsmart! courses are 100% narrated, illustrated and animated.

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Ohio Boat Registration Basics

In Ohio, boat registration is necessary for any residents who own boats. Additionally, boat titles must be acquired along with registration. Exact title and registration requirements are dependent on the type of watercraft owned by a driver. For example, certain types of motorized water vessels are exempt from these requirements.

Drivers must show the following documents to obtain registration and titles:

  • Proof boat ownership
  • Proof of identity
  • Bill of sale certificate, if necessary

When boat registration stickers are administered, they must be placed on watercraft and boats in the appropriate area. Registration and titles should be renewed periodically, when necessary.

Replacement registrations can also be acquired through the Division of Parks and Watercraft. Drivers can submit requests online, by mail or in person. There is no fee for obtaining a replacement card.

Is Being A Captain The Right Move For Me

How to Get Your Boating License in the USA | BOATsmart!

If you dont have a lot of experience on the water, you might be wondering if being a captain is right for you especially if youre young. For some reason, theres an assumption that all captains are salty old men with white beards, which just isnt true. Theres a wide range of ages within all levels of the merchant mariner industry both male and female. One great thing about having your captains license is that as long as youre professional and have the skills to back up your credentials, you can land some great jobs.

Questions? Contact a school advisor here.

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Requirements For Boater Registration In Ohio

What do you need to register a boat in Ohio? is a common question many boaters may ask themselves. Registration requirements involve several things from the boat owner before an application can be processed. Complete the OH boat registration form titled Certified Watercraft Registration Application to start the process.

Requirements to register a boat in Ohio are listed below.

  • Boat Information
  • Proof of Ownership

On the Ohio boat registration form, there is an option to register a boat as Alternative Registration for Hand-Powered Vessels. OH boat registration instructions indicate this type of registration is not for motorized vessels. Alternative registration is strictly for non-powered vessels like the following:

  • Rowing shells
  • Pedal boats
  • Inflatables

The registration requirements under the Alternative Registration option are the same as those for traditional registration, but an additional $5 is added to the cost. Both types of boat registration are valid for 3 years. However, the benefit to the alternative method is that it is not necessary to display OH numbers on the vessel.

How To Become A Boat Captain

To simplify, becoming a captain requires three things:

  • Boating Experience: The first step in becoming the captain of any vessel is to gain experience either on your own boat or as a crew member on someone elses. You dont have to be a paid crew member to count your sea time toward a credential, as long as youre aboard a registered vessel and the owner is willing to confirm your time. Either way, its best to accumulate crewing experience in your prospective industry before you get your license. For specific boats especially like fishing or parasailing most people start as a deckhand and work their way up. This way, you understand all operations of your vessel and are a better captain when the time comes.
  • Passing a USCG Exam: When working towards getting your captains license, youll need to pass a U.S. Coast Guard-approved exam. This is an important step in how to get your captains license. The exam requires careful studying and covers navigation, Rules of the Road, marlinspike seamanship, Deck General and more. The easiest way to pass the exam is by taking a USCG-approved captains license course. Maritime schools teach you specifically for the test and provide helpful resources and study tools.
  • Completing Certificates, Forms and Fees: After completing your class, youll submit an application package to the Coast Guard. It includes a medical examination, proof of drug screening enrollment and sea service forms, among other things.

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Frequently Asked Questions For The Boating Safety Education Requirements

I was born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, and want to operate a boat in Florida. Do I need a license?

In order to operate a motorboat of ten horsepower or greater, Florida law requires anyone who was born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 to successfully complete an approved boating safety course and obtain a Boating Safety Education Identification Card issued by the FWC.

Florida does not have a “boating license.” The Boating Safety Education Identification Card is proof of successful completion of the educational requirements and is valid for life.

I’ve heard there were some changes in the law regarding the requirements to operate a boat in Florida. What were the changes?

Effective Jan. 1, 2010, boat operators who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, must have a Florida Boating Safety Education Identification Card to operate a motorboat with 10 horsepower or more. The requirement to take an approved boating safety course and to obtain an FWC-issued identification card did not change, but the age threshold for the educational requirements is now be based on whether or not you were born on or after Jan. 1, 1988.

  • The new law also created an exemption from the educational requirements for an operator if he or she is operating a vessel within 90 days after the purchase of that vessel and has available for inspection aboard that vessel a bill of sale meeting all the requirements as established in Chapter 328.46, Florida Statutes.

Ohio Boating Laws And Regulations

How Long Does It Take To Get A Boating License: Get Ohio ...


An Ohio Boater Education Card, commonly known as a boating license, is proof that you have taken an official boating safety course and have gained the boating skills you need to operate a boat safely on Ohios public waterways. All Ohio boaters born after Jan. 1, 1982, are required to have an Ohio Boater Education Card in order to legally operate a boat on state waters.


Get your Ohio Boating License today by signing up for the online BOATsmart! Course. Register for the BOATsmart! Ohio Course, pass the test and youll be enjoying Ohios waterways in just a few hours.

Get your Official Ohio


All boats under 16 feet in length that are operating on Ohios waters are required to carry one, Coast Guard approved, wearable life jacket or PFD for each passenger on board boat. Although adults are not required to wear life jackets when boating, our suggestion is to always WEAR IT Ohio! Especially if youre boating in remote, cold or rough water areas.

Additionally, boats greater than 16 feet in length are also required to carry one, Coast Guard Approved, Type IV device on board the boat at all times.

In Ohio, children 10 years of age and under are required to wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket when underway on any boat that is 18 feet in length or under. Its the law to make sure your childrens life jackets are properly secured and in good condition. WEAR IT!

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Renewing And Replacing Ohio Boating Licenses

Boater exam certification documents are required to remain on drivers when operating water vessels. If certificates are lost or stolen, they should be replaced immediately. Boaters can complete the replacement process by contacting the Ohio Division of Parks and Watercraft.

To request a replacement card in Ohio, boaters can email the state agency mentioned above. Additionally, applicants may visit a state field office to obtain replacements. Temporary 45-day certificates are also available in person for drivers who need a physical permit immediately.

In many cases, online boating course certificates may only be replaced by directly contacting the agency where the privileges were administered.

Where To Register Your Boat And Kayak

There are several locations across Ohio where you can register your kayak. This can be at an Ohio Department of Natural Resources office or at an Ohio DNR approved Watercraft boat registration agent. These agents include Great Lakes Boat Works in Painesville, OH and Sea Ray of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, OH.

Your registration is valid for three years and expires on March 1st. You can renew your registration online using your OH boat number and your PIN. These can be found on your renewal notice.

All watercraft principally operated on Ohio waters must be registered and issued an Ohio Registration Certificate by the Ohio Division of Parks & Watercraft.

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Boater Safety Courses In Ohio

Boaters born after 1981 must have completed a boater safety course in Ohio to operate a boat in Ohio powered by more than 10 horsepower. Taking an approved safety course is the only way to obtain boat operating rights.

Options for taking an official boater safety course in Ohio include classroom courses, online courses and a home study course, upon approval. Once the boating education class is complete, you must pass an exam, to obtain a boater education card.

Types Of Boat Captain Licenses

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Before we get into the specific requirements to obtain a captains license, you should know a few of the different kinds for which you may want to apply.

The license you qualify for depends on your boating experience. Depending on where you can operate and the tonnage of boats you can operate, youll be applying for one of the following three licenses.

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Registering Your Boat In Ohio

Registrations are required for every recreational boat in Ohio, including powerboats, sailboats, canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, and inflatable boats. NOTE: Kiteboards, paddleboards, and belly boats do NOT have to be registered as boats in Ohio.

Boat registrations are good for three years and expire on March 1. There is no late fee for renewing after March 1.

What you need to get a boat registered depends on what type of boat it is. Generally you need proof of ownership, some detailed information on the boat, some detailed information on you , a drivers license, and the registration fee.

Renewing a Registration Existing boat registrations can be renewed online as long as you have a PIN and all information on the boat AND owner is up-to-date. Your PIN is assigned by the Division of Parks and Watercraft and is found on your renewal notice. We mail you a notice a few months before your registration expires. If you did not receive your renewal notice, please contact the Division of Parks and Watercraft for assistance.

Change of Ownership If you are not the listed owner of the boat on the current registration, you will need officially change ownership before you can renew. Ownership changes can only occur in person at a Boat Registration Agent or at a Watercraft Office. You will need proof of ownership see more under the “What It Costs > Cost to Transfer Ownership” on this page.

Is A Boating License Good In All States

Good news! If youve successfully completed an official boating safety course such as boat-ed or ilearntoboat, your boater education card is welcome in every state that requires mandatory boater education. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories.

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What Is The Largest Boat You Can Drive Without A Captains License

My understanding is there is an upper limit on vessel size which can be operated on federal navigable waters without a licensed captain, even if the vessel is not carrying passengers for hire. The only references Ive found are indirect. One claims the limit is 90 feet in length, the other claims the limit is 200 tons.

Do You Have To Register A Kayak In Ohio

[Get 21+] Kayak Boat Registration Ohio

Ohio law requires that kayaks should be registered with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. This includes all types of boats.

Types of boats, include inflatable kayaks, canoes, powerboats, sailboats, and pedal boats, fall into this category. So before you head out on the water in your kayak, you must pay a registration fee, and you must display the registration decal on your vessel.

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