Licensing an Inflatable Boat

If you're serious about using your inflatable boat properly and safely then you should find out about licensing requirements. A boat license test is just as serious as a car driving test. If you prepare properly then you should be able to get your boat license in no time.

Do I Need a License?

Unlike cars, not all boats actually require licenses and not all states have boat license laws. In general inflatable boats don't need you to be licensed, however getting a license will ensure that you know all of the relevant rules and regulations. The size of the engine will ultimately dictate whether or not you need to get a license.

If your inflatable boat has a motor and is capable of speeds in excess of 10 knots then you will need to get yourself a license. Some inflatable boats are very powerful, while others are just toys designed for very short trips.


A boat license is only available once a person turns 16, however children as young as 12 can get themselves restricted boat licenses.

License Restrictions

The licenses will normally last for one to three years depending on which license you decided to purchase. Buying the three year license up front does offer some savings over the yearly license.

To get your license you will have to complete a course and then pass a very short test at the end. This will check your understanding of the rules and how to act safely.