CT Offers FAQs on Required Boating Certification


Maine Boaters Education

Connecticut law requires residents of the state or persons owning a CT-registered boat to possess a Safe Boating Certificate (obtainable through a boating course or exam) to operate a vessel in state waters, fresh or salt. Naturally, many boaters are confused by the requirement, so the state’s Department of Energy & Environment has put together a list of frequently asked questions and their answers.

How long is the Basic Boating Course?

The boating course is 8 hours long. You must attend each day the course is held, and pass the exam given on the final day of class. You must score eighty percent (80%) or better in order to pass. The DEEP boating course is combined with the personal watercraft course. View the schedule of 2015 boating-safety courses HERE:

If I owned a boat between 1987 and 1992, can I be grandfathered?

No. The grandfather clause expired as of October 1, 1997. Anyone applying for his or her Certificate after that date needs to take a boating course or exam.

I took a United States Power Squadron Boating Course ten years ago, but I lost my course completion certificate.  What should I do?

You will need to contact the United States Power Squadron at (888) 367-8777. If your course completion diploma cannot be located, you will need to complete a boating course.

I took a boating course through the United States Power Squadron in 1968 and I have the diploma.  Can I use the course completion diploma to obtain my Safe Boating Certificate? 

Yes. As long as you have the course completion diploma you can apply for you Connecticut Safe Boating Certificate. The completion diploma does not have an expiration date.

I took an on-line boating course.  Is that acceptable?

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 8 hours of classroom instruction. The exam has to be a proctored exam.

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? 

Yes. Any vessel with any size motor is required to be registered and numbered before entering Connecticut waters. Also, any sailboat over 19 1/2 feet powered by sail alone is required to be registered and numbered before entering Connecticut waters. In order to operate that vessel, you must possess a Safe Boating Certificate.

I live in another state.  Do I need the Boating Certificate to operate my boat on Connecticut waters?

The Safe 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 60 days in a calendar year, you will need the boating certificate. You will also need a Certificate of Decal (which is handled through DMV.)

My child is 10-years-old and wants to operate the family boat. Does he need a Boating Certificate?

Yes, he needs the Safe Boating Certificate to operate the vessel. He must take a boating course in order to obtain the boating certificate. By law, any person under the age of 16 may operate a vessel without being certified, other than a PWC, 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 2 years.

I have been boating for 25 years and know more than a course can teach me. Is there another way I can obtain a Safe Boating Certificate?  

Yes, there is another way to obtain your boating certificate. 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 need to know about canoes, personal watercraft, yachts, and sailboats. Please contact Sue at (860) 434-8638. As of October 1, 2008, upon passing the Equivalency Exam, you will qualify for a Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation.

I just purchased a boat and was told 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 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. Within the three month time period, you must take a boating course and get your Safe Boating Certificate. No person shall be issued more than one temporary certificate.

I have a valid Coast Guard Operating License. Do I need the Safe Boating Certificate to operate my boat?

If you have a current master, mate, or pilot license issued through the Coast Guard, you do not need the Connecticut Safe 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 Safe 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 safe boating certificate.

What is required to become a DEEP boating instructor? 

First, you must complete an application to become a DEEP Volunteer Instructor. You must also teach 2 courses per year (ten hours each) and attend an annual re-certification workshop (2 hours). The benefit of watching the face of a student while presenting them with their diploma is priceless. Teaching the material also keeps you abreast of current changes in boating law and makes you a safer boater.