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Boating License Requirements

Whether your goal is to invite family or friends for a boating outing or to sail out onto the water alone, there are some important boating license requirements you need to know about. All people who operate a motorboat, in New Hampshire, are required to abide by the following regulations:

New Hampshire’s Mandatory Boating Education Program

If you are planning to operate a motorboat that’s 25 horsepower in New Hampshire, the first step is to earn a boating education certificate. There is also a minimum age requirement of 16-years-old and older. There are a few exceptions. If you hold any of the following licenses or certificates, you are exempt from obtain the boating education certificate.

  • Valid New Hampshire commercial boating license issued.
  • Valid commercial boating license issued by the US Coast Guard.

  • Boating certificate issued by the US Coast Guard Auxiliary.

  • Boating certificate - must be given by the US Power Squadron.
  • Out if state boating certificate issued by another State agency (NASBLA approved only).


If you lack any of the above licensed and certificates, you may register for the boating education course online.

Boating Education Course Online

Once you have completed your boating education course, the next step is to register for a boating exam. When you have passed the exam, you will be issued a boating certificate card.

The boating education course is administered by the New Hampshire Department of Safety. The course is approximately eight hours long. The passing grade requirement is 80 percent. Those who fail may retake the exam. However, a New date will have to be selected. All applicants must provide a non-expired, valid photo ID.

The Boater Education Card is normally mailed out within 45 days. Sometimes the card is given out upon completion of the class. Exam applicants have the option of studying from home with certified course materials. However, you must take the exam at one of the test centers.

Note: The license may opt out of retaking the exam if they provide one of the boating exemption alternatives mentioned previously.

How to Register to for the Boating Education Exam

Registration is simple. All you have to do is register for the by calling 1-888-254-2125 (extension ‘1’).


Important Things to Know:
  • Do you have to renew your boaters licensing?

    The boat license certification is permanent - you do not have renew your licensing once it has been given.

  • What should you do if your boating card is lost or stolen?

    If your boating card is lost or stolen, you can easily get it replaced by filling out a state issued Boating Card Replacement Form. Then mail the form to
the following address:

    NH Boating Education
    P.O. Box 1150, Belmont, NH 03220

  • How much does it cost to replace a boating card?

    The cost to replace your card is a $10 replacement fee. Make a check or money order payable to: State of NH, Safety Services.

  • How to Apply for a 14-Day Temporary Safe Boating Certificate

    Not everyone requires a permanent boating license. There is a boating licensing option that will allow you to apply for a temporary boating education certificate. The temporary certification is good for a 14-day period. It is important to note that the temporary licensing is only good for one time use within the 14 days.

  • Boating Education Program Sign Up

    Boat motorists can sign up for the 14-day temporary certificate by calling 1 (888) 254-2125. You may also call to find out the nearest locations.

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