Pleasure Boat License

In my post, Chartering License, I received a comment from a reader, Patti, who was furious that there didn’t seem to be a requirement in the U.S. for operators of pleasure craft to be licensed. She thought that everyone operating a boat should be licensed. I replied that I agreed with her.

Well, Patti, I have done some research on this subject and will post it here. First, I found out that Florida does have a boating law. It states: “As of 2010, all boaters in Florida who were born on or after January 1, 1988 must have in their possession a valid Boating Safety Education ID Card when operating any motorized vessel of 10hp or more.” Also, a person must be at least 14 years old to operate a personal watercraft (pleasure boat) in Florida

I don’t know about the other States, but Florida deserves a lot of credit for trying to get our waterways a lot safer for everyone. Folks, I suggest you use Google and see if your state has similar requirements. You might be as surprised as I was.

Here is what I learned about this law in Canada. Regulations require all operators of pleasure craft fitted with any type of motor and used for recreational purposes to carry proof of competency on board. This is normally a Pleasure Craft Operator Card, obtained by passing an examination, ($49.95 plus tax) which indicates that the boater has a basic level of boating safety knowledge required for safe recreational boating. $250 fines are now being given for non-compliance..

These requirements were introduced in 1999 in response to the increasing number of boating deaths and injuries occurring in Canadian waterways.

So, here’s to safer boating, folks. We’re beginning to wise up—and it’s about time!

George and his wife, Marie, sailed professionally, chartering boats in the Bahamas, then in the Virgin Islands. They then leased an uninhabited island, Little Thatch, in the British Virgin Islands, and turned it into a small hotel. After six years, they left the island and bought a lovely beachfront property on Jost Van Dyke (BVI) where they built Sandcastle Hotel and the original Soggy Dollar Bar. George is now the author of Incredible Virgin Island Adventure: A True Story.

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