No person under 10 years of age may operate a motorboat, including personal watercraft (PWC).
Age 10 years and less than 12 years of age may only operate under a parent or guardian's direct control.
Who Must Take The Course?
Persons born on or after January 1, 1998,
may operate a vessel powered by a motor of more than 10 horsepower (hp)
they have a valid Boating Safety Certificate accepted by the Department of Natural Resources.
Persons at least 10 years old but less than 12 years old
may operate a motorized vessel with more than 10 hp, including a PWC,
they are accompanied by and under the direct control of a parent, a guardian, or a person at least 18 years old designated by the parent or guardian.
Persons at least 12 years old but less than 18 years old
may operate a motorized vessel with more than 10 horsepower, including a PWC,
They complete a boating safety course and possess a
Boating Safety Certificate accepted by the Department of
They are accompanied by and under the direct control of
a parent, a guardian, or a person at least 18 years old designated by the parent or guardian.
Parents, guardians, or designees born on or after January 1, 1998, must have a valid boating safety certificate to supervise a person 10 to 17 years old who is operating a motorized vessel with more than 10 hp.
Throughout the year, many people operate motor-driven watercraft on the Illinois waters and many operate for the first time. So, we encourage individuals - both novice and experienced - to take the course. Each of us has the responsibility to keep this lifetime leisure activity free from tragedy and personal loss to ourselves and our fellow boaters. The Illinois Boating Education Course is offered with these objectives in mind.
The Illinois Boating Education Course consists of a minimum eight hours of instruction. The course covers the basics of boating safety, equipment and requirements, navigation, motorboat, registration and titling, emergency measures and the Illinois boating laws.
The program is primarily designed to train young people over the age of 12 years old. The educational material is based on a sixth-grade reading level. Students under the age of 11 may not participate in the exam to receive certification.
Students between the age of 11-12 years old will receive their certificate upon their 12th birthday.
Persons 12 and over completing the minimum eight hours of instruction and successfully completing the final examination will receive a State of Illinois Certificate of Competency.
Two Ways To Take The Course
The traditional class method is through an 8 hour instructor-led class structure. Classes may be taught in one day or over a couple of different days, usually on the weekend. The class will end with an exam to pass the class. Interested individuals may call 1-800-832-2599 or check:
List of Education Courses by County.
Online Self-Study Course-
Students may study the course material at their own pace, completing chapter reviews along the way. At the end of the course material the student will be required to pass an exam. Student certification will be mailed by the course provider.
Two Providers for On-line Boating Safety Course and Certification:
Valid Safety Certificates Issued By: