How to Get Your Boating License in Hawaii – The Ins and Outs

If you’re in Hawaii and you aspire to tour the vast waters in the island in your own boat, then you’ll need to get a boating license. However, in Hawaii, the license is known as a Boater Education Card. The main body responsible for issuing this card is called Hawaii’s Department of Land and Resources’ Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR).


In Hawaii, there’s some age restriction as to who can operate a boat. Anyone under the age of 15 cannot operate a personal vessel. Nevertheless, all other personal watercraft operators must be over the age of 15 and should have the necessary certification from DOBOR in Hawaii.


In addition to the age restrictions, the state laws require that any person operating a vessel shouldn’t under the influence of alcohol or any drug. According to the law, the legal blood alcohol limit is 0.08%. if you’re found guilty of such an offense, you’ll have to face severe penalties.


Boating License in Hawaii


Courses on Boater Education


For you to acquire a Boater Education Card, you have to go through a boater education course which is regulated and approved by the Hawaii DOBR. You can also pass any other approved equivalent test.


In this course, you’ll learn how to maintain and operate a boat, the various legal requirements for boaters and most importantly, what you should do in case of an emergency. With such knowledge, you’re assured of a safe boating experience.


You can go through the boater education course in one of two ways. The first is by attending physical classes which are offered by DOBOR. The University of Hawaii Community College System provides these classes and you can find them at various locations:


  1. Maui – Maui Community College
  2. Kauai – Kauai Community College
  3. Hawaii County – Hawaii Community College
  4. Oahu – Windward Community College
  5. These classes are offered 5 times every year. First off, you’ll need to pay $109 for a one-day Recreation Thrill Craft Operators Safety Educational course and another $139 for a two-day Ocean Safety Educational Course.


How to Renew Your License


The best part about the card is after you receive it, you don’t have to worry about renewing the license. The card is permanent and the only thing you can do is replace it if you lose it. However, you’ll have to produce proof that you completed a certified and approved boating education course.


Who Needs a Boating License?


If your boat’s motor is more than 10 horsepower, or you have a vessel powered by the wind and is also equipped with a secondary engine, then you must have a NASBLA certificate of completion showing that you’re familiar with the safety and operation of a motor-powered vessel.


Can You Use a Hawaii Boating License in Other States?


Yes, you can. There’s a reciprocity for non-residents included in a NASBLA-approved course which allows you to use your Hawaii Boat Operator’s Certificate in other states.


Do You Need a Driver’s License to Get a Hawaii Boating License?


No, you don’t need a state driver’s license to get a boater education card.

About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

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