Ways to Take a Boating Safety Course
Following are the various ways that you can take a boating safety course, including classroom, home study and online. Some have an associated cost, while others are free - find the one that suits you best and make sure you are safe on the water!
Classroom courses are provided by:
- VDGIF Boat Virginia Course FREE of charge to the public. Pre-registration may be required and is recommended since classes fill fast.
- US Coast Guard Auxiliary (Courses may include some cost to cover materials generally $25 - 40. Ask for full details from class contact person before enrolling. Prices are listed beside the course.
- U.S. Power Squadrons (Courses may include some cost to cover materials depending on the course, generally $25-50. Ask for full details from the class contact person before enrolling. Prices are listed beside the course.
See the Class Schedule - Courses with a fee will be clearly marked in the special instructions for each class.
Approved Classroom Course Providers
The following links are for NASBLA approved commercial providers that are accepted by the Department. They offer courses that meet Virginia's education requirement and can cater courses to your needs. They also offer on the water training and advanced courses if you are interested in furthering your boating knowledge beyond a basic course. To inquire about their services contact them directly.
Approved Online Course Providers
- These courses are provided by commercial vendors, and are not administered by VDGIF.
- They are NASBLA Approved and accepted by VDGIF; however, VDGIF does not maintain their student records.
- Any of these courses will meet Virginia's Boating Safety Education Requirement.
- Many of these providers are fee based with fees paid directly to the course provider on a No pass, No pay basis. The prices range from Free to $29.95.
- Should you need to contact them for information or to obtain a replacement certificate, please call them directly at the numbers listed below (these courses contain 3 hours of instruction and take approximately 4 hours to complete):
- Boat US Foundation (Free Course) by Boat US Foundation 1-800-245-2628
- Boat Virginia Boating Safety Course (No Pass, No Pay) Boat Ed 1-800-830-2268
- Virginia Boat Operator's Course (No Pass, No Pay) American Boating Education 1-877-677-2628 or in Richmond (804) 559-0187
- Virginia Boating Safety Course (No Pass, No Pay - During National Safe Boating Week, May 17 - May 24, take 33% off the cost of this course) Boater Exam 1-866-764-2628
- Virginia Boating Basics Online (No Pass No Pay) Nautical Know How 267-535-4408
Approved Home Study Course Providers
- Boat-Ed Go online or Call 1-800-460-9698 to order book, test and VHS tape ($24.95 + $5 shipping).
- American Boat Operator Video The home study kit ($24.95) includes video (or DVD), book and more. Kit also comes with a "pin" allowing you to go online and take the final exam. For an additional $12.95 each, other family members can use the same course materials and then take the exam online.
- United States Power Squadron-America's Boating Course ($34.95 plus S&H will give you a 224-page manual and CD for home study AND a "pin" number if you prefer to take the course online).
Virginia Proctored Challenge Exam
If you are an experienced boater and have a good working knowledge of the navigation rules and Virginia boating laws, you may opt to take an 80 question challenge exam. These exams will be scheduled throughout Virginia. The exam is closed book, no reference material is allowed in the examination room. Virginia's Watercraft Owner's Guide or other online study material may be utilized to prepare for the exam. We do not offer a study guide.
Boating Workshops and Seminars (do not meet Virginia's Education Requirement)
If you would like to learn more about boating, please check out the workshops and seminars offered by local United States Power Squadrons or United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. These workshops are short 2-3 hour seminars and workshops and often have small fee associated with them. Please note, workshops listed here do not meet Virginia's education requirement.