How to Obtain Your South Carolina Boating License

South Carolina is an excellent state for boating enthusiasts. With plenty of lakes, river systems, and a sizable coastline, boaters have excellent choices for having fun on the water. The state takes certain steps to make sure everyone who operates a boat within the borders does so safely and responsibly. One of those steps is to issue boater education cards through the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Here are the qualifications for obtaining a boater education card.

Who can obtain a boater education card?

South Carolina requires anyone under the age of 16 who plans on operating a boat or personal watercraft to have a boater education card unless they are accompanied by someone 18 years of age or older. The accompanying adult must not be under the influence of alcohol while the boat is in operation. The legal state limit for intoxication is a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent. There are no SC boat licensing requirements for anyone 16 years of age or older.

How to earn the boater education card

For those who must have boater education card, there are a few options for obtaining one. You must pass a course approved by the SCDNR or an approved equivalency test. The course can be taken in a classroom setting at SCDNR facilities as well as through the US Power Squadron and the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. There are also online course options for those who prefer to take the test from the comfort of home. Anyone under the age of 12 needs to be accompanied by an adult during the course.

The course generally takes eight hours to complete and the course materials are free. After passing a test following the course, the education cards are issued either at the end of the class or mailed to you. For the online option, a fee is required to take the course, but the course materials are free. After studying, a mail-in test is issued. Once the test is mailed in, the education card is sent through the mail within 45 days.

Renewal and Replacement

Once a boater education card is issued, there is no need to renew it. If the card is lost or stolen, you can contact the SCDNR with proof of course completion and they will re-issue a new card. For those who take the online course, you must contact the course provider. There may be a fee involved with this option, so check the provider’s website for details.

With the operation of any vehicle, it is smart to have at least boater’s liability insurance regardless of who is operating the boat. Contact Upside for SC insurance quotes. For more detailed information about South Carolina’s boating regulations, it is recommended that you read the official handbook. Once you obtain your education card, you are ready to hit the water.

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