Free Boater Safety Course
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The Best Free Boater Safety Course: How to Stay Safe on the Water

Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need—a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.” — Three Men on a Boat, Jerome K. Jerome

Boating is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. It was the first real transportation method humans used and it’s still popular today. But, as with anything, there is a risk involved. Safety is always the number one priority when boating and this is why taking a boater safety course is so important.

You want to be able to relax and enjoy your time on the water, without having to worry about safety. But accidents can happen, even to the most experienced boaters. If you know what to do, you can minimize the risk and stay safe on the water and enjoy your trip.

The biggest hurdle in this case is knowing where to find a reputable and reliable boater safety course. In this article, we’ll show you the best boat safety courses, and what makes them so.

Safety First

Before we get into the courses themselves, let’s talk about safety. There are a few things you should always keep in mind when boating. You will definitely find them mentioned in the courses too, but it’s good to be familiar with them before you even set foot on a boat.

  • Wear a life jacket — this might sound obvious, but it is the most important thing you can do to stay safe on the water. Make sure it fits properly and that you know how to put it on correctly.
  • Check the weather forecast — before you go out on the water, make sure to check the weather forecast. If the conditions are not good, it’s better to stay on shore.
  • Be aware of your surroundings — when you’re boating, always be aware of what’s going on around you. Look out for other boats, swimmers, and obstacles in the water.
  • Follow the rules of the “road” — just like when you’re driving a car, there are rules that apply to boaters as well. Make sure you know them before you go out on the water.
  • Be mindful of state-specific regulations — each state has its own regulations regarding boating. Make sure you know the rules that apply to the state you’re in.

Now that we’ve gone over some general safety tips, let’s take a look at some of the best free boater safety courses available.

Best Free Boater Safety Courses

When you’re looking for a boater safety course, you want one that is comprehensive and easy to understand. It should cover all the basics of boating safety and give you the information you need to stay safe on the water.

It should also be approved by the US Coast Guard. This means that it meets their standards for boater safety education.

There are a few different courses that meet these criteria and are worth checking out. Here are some of the best:

BoatUS Foundation Courses

The BoatUS Foundation offers a variety of different courses, both online and in-person. They have a course for everyone, from beginners to experienced boaters.

What’s great about these courses is that there is one for every U.S. state. Since each state has its own boating regulations, this ensures that you’re getting the most accurate information for where you’ll be boating.

The courses are also very comprehensive, covering everything from boat handling to navigation to emergency procedures.

Here are the links to some of the state’s courses. You can see the complete list here.

All of the courses are self-paced and take around 10 hours to complete. To make sure you’ve absorbed the course’s materials, they also come with a quiz at the end, with 60 questions pulled randomly from their database.

The courses are completely free, and come with a certificate of completion. Should you need to carry the certification with you, just print it out yourself.

State-Sponsored Online Courses

Most U.S. states offer their own boater safety course, approved by the US Coast Guard. These are a great option if you want to be sure you’re getting accurate information for your state.

State-sponsored courses are usually offered through an online learning platform like BoatEd.

Warning: If you choose to take a state-sponsored course, make sure it is approved by the US Coast Guard. Some states offer courses that are not approved and will not be accepted as proof of boater safety education. Approved courses will have the US Coast Guard’s logo on them. Also, some of them aren’t free.

Some states also offer in-person courses, but these are less common.

For example, Massachusetts offers both online and in-person boater safety classes, completely free of charge. The course is eight hours long and covers everything from boat handling to navigation.

Texas, on the other hand, relies on a bunch of 3rd party providers. Most of them will charge you a fee to get the certificate. But if you pick BoatUS then you can get your safety certificate free of charge.

Basic Sail Trim Course by NauticEd

This course is for those of you who are interested in sailing. It covers the basics of sail trim and how to adjust your sails for different conditions.

It’s a great course for beginners, as it covers the most essential information you need to know about sailing. And it’s completely free!

The course is self-paced and takes around four hours to complete. It comes with a certificate of completion, which you can print out yourself.

While the course is comprehensive, it doesn’t go into as much detail as some of the other courses on this list.

Warning: this course doesn’t fully count as a safety course, since it doesn’t cover powerboats. You’ll still need to take a separate course if you want to be fully certified.

Finding an Approved Boating Course Provider in Your State

If you’re not sure where to start, the US Coast Guard has a list of approved boating course providers by state.

This list includes both online and in-person courses, so you can find one that’s convenient for you.

Once you’ve found a course, make sure to complete it before heading out on the water. Boating safety is essential for everyone, and these courses will give you the knowledge you need to stay safe.

You might be wondering how some courses are free while others are paid. The answer is simple: some states require all boaters to take a safety course, while others do not.

In states where the course is required, the state will usually offer it for free. In states where the course is not required, you’ll have to pay a fee to get your certification.

But also, the depth of the course content can vary. Some courses are very comprehensive and go into great detail, while others only cover the basics. Free courses are usually less comprehensive than paid courses.

That being said, all of the courses on this list will give you the basic knowledge you need to stay safe while boating. It’s up to you to decide which course is right for you, but I would recommend choosing a comprehensive course that covers everything you need to know about boating safety.

Be careful of online scams

When searching for a boater safety course, be careful of online scams. Some websites will claim to offer free courses, but they will actually try to charge you for the certificate.

Others might not be approved by the US Coast Guard, which means the certificate won’t be valid.

To avoid these scams, only take courses from approved providers. Always refer to the US Coast Guard list of approved providers, so you can be sure you’re getting a legitimate course.

It’s also a good idea to read reviews before signing up for any course. This will help you avoid any scams and make sure you’re getting a quality education.

The bottom line is that taking a boater safety course is the best way to stay safe on the water. These courses will give you the knowledge you need to avoid accidents and stay safe while boating.

So if you’re planning on heading out on the water this summer, make sure to take a boater safety course first. It could save your life.


Boat safety is essential for everyone who plans on spending time on the water. There are many different ways to stay safe, but taking a boater safety course is the best way to learn everything you need to know.

There are many different courses available, both online and in person. Some states even require all boaters to take a safety course.

When choosing a course, make sure to pick one that is comprehensive and covers everything you need to know about boating safety. You can find a list of approved providers on the US Coast Guard website.

Be careful of online scams, and only take courses from trusted providers. Taking a boater safety course is the best way to stay safe while enjoying time on the water.

Have fun on your boat!

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