Frequently Asked Questions
Please visit COVID-19 FAQs to get the latest information on Safe Boating Classes.
How long is the basic boating course?
The boating course is an eight-hour course.
What are the basic boating course requirements?
You must attend all eight-hours and pass the proctored exam. You must score eighty percent (80%) or higher to get a diploma. The DEEP taught boating course is combined with the personal watercraft course and leads to a Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation (CPWO).
If I took a CT approved boating course ten years ago, but lost my course completion diploma, what should I do?
You will need to contact the course provider. If your course completion diploma cannot be located, you will need to retake a boating course.
If I took a boating course through the United States Power Squadrons in 1968 and I have the diploma, can I use the course completion diploma to obtain my Safe Boating Certificate?
Yes, as long as the course was CT DEEP approved and you have the course completion diploma, which you will need to present in order to purchase your Connecticut Safe Boating Certificate. The completion diploma does not have an expiration date. DEEP encourages you to take a boating course since many boating laws and regulations have changed.
If I took an on-line boating course, is it accepted by Connecticut?
No, not only does a boating course have to be State of Connecticut and National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) approved, but it also has to have a minimum of eight hours of classroom instruction. The exam has to be a proctored exam as well.
If I own a boat with a small electric trolling motor, am I required to register that boat and do I need a boating certificate to operate the boat?
In general, “yes” to both questions, but there are exceptions. Any vessel with any motor is considered to be a motorboat and must be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
before entering Connecticut waters. If you are a Connecticut resident operating a registered boat of any kind you must possess a Safe Boating Certificate or Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation. However, on inland bodies of water with a 10 horsepower limit and between one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset, a certificate is not required for a person operating a boat with an electric motor (rated at 106 lbs. of thrust or less). Nonetheless, the boat must still be registered with the DMV.
If I live in another state, do I need a boating certificate to operate my boat (other than a personal watercraft) on Connecticut waters?
The boating certificate was designed for people who own property in the State of Connecticut, residents of the State of Connecticut or people who have a vessel required to be registered
or display a Certificate of Decal in the State of Connecticut. If you live in another state and operate your vessel on Connecticut waters for more than sixty days in a calendar year, you will need the boating certificate. You will also need to obtain a Certificate of Decal through the DMV.
(see personal watercraft certificate requirements below)
If my child is twelve years old and wants to operate the family boat (other than a personal watercraft), does he/she need a boating certificate?
Yes, your child needs a boating certificate to operate the vessel alone. The child must take a boating course
in order to obtain a boating certificate. By law, any person under the age of 16 may operate a vessel (other than a personal watercraft) without being certified if under the direct supervision of a person 18 or older, who has had their Safe Boating Certificate (SBC) or Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation (CPWO) for at least two years.
If I have been boating for 25 years and know more than a boating course can teach me, is there another way I can obtain a boating certificate?
Yes, you can take the DEEP Equivalency Exam.
This exam is designed for the experienced boater who knows the rules and regulations for safe boating on Connecticut waters. Not only does the experienced boater need to know about boating, but must also needs to know about canoes, personal watercraft, yachts, sailboats and all the new laws and regulations regarding Connecticut boating. Please contact Wendy at 860-434-8638
for more information.
As of October 1, 2008, upon passing the Equivalency Exam, you will qualify for a Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation.
If I just purchased a boat (other than a personal watercraft) and was told that I can get a temporary certificate, what do I need to do?
You will need to go to your local DEEP Processing Office
with your newly DMV
issued registration (the temporary certificate is issued to the person whose name is on the registration) and a photo ID. The cost of the temporary certificate is $50 and is valid three months from the date that you registered the boat with DMV
Within the three month time period, you must take a boating course and get your boating certificate. You will not be issued more than one temporary certificate. If you want to get a temporary for a newly purchased personal watercraft, please see below,
If I have a valid U.S. Coast Guard Operating License, do I need a boating certificate to operate my boat (other than a personal watercraft)?
If you have a current master, mate, or pilot license issued through the U.S. Coast Guard, you do not need the Connecticut boating certificate to operate your boat. You must keep the valid license with you at all times. You cannot use the valid Coast Guard License to obtain your Connecticut boating certificate. You would have to take a boating course or provide us with proof that you have taken an approved boating course to obtain a Connecticut issued boating certificate.
(i.e. trademarked brand names Jet Ski, Wave Runner, Sea-Doo)
What type of certificate do I need to operate a personal watercraft (PWC)?
You need to have a Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation. A valid Coast Guard license does not qualify you to operate a personal watercraft.
How do I get my Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation?
If I just purchased a personal watercraft, can I get a temporary certificate?
Yes, in order to receive your temporary certificate, you must complete an approved two and one-half hour personal watercraft course
and the personal watercraft must be registered in your name. Bring your newly issued DMV
registration and your course completion diploma to your local DEEP Processing Office
. The cost of the certificate is $50 and is valid three months from the date of vessel registration. Within the three month time period, you must successfully complete a boating course and obtain your Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation.
If my child is under 16, can he/she operate a personal watercraft if he/she has a Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation?
No, the child may not operate a personal watercraft alone. The child must be accompanied on board by someone that is eighteen years of age or older and holds a Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation to operate a personal watercraft.
If I live in another state and visit Connecticut during the summer months, can I operate a personal watercraft without the Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation?
No, every person operating a personal watercraft on Connecticut waters must have a Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation issued by Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts or New Hampshire.
Do I need to have a Safe Boating Certificate/Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation to register a boat?
No, the boating certificate is only required to operate a Connecticut registered boat. There is a line on the Vessel Registration form
for the certificate number, however it does not have to be filled in.
Content last updated February 2021