Boat License 101



A boat license is an essential aspect of sailing, as no one knows when or where the cops are going to come knocking on your bareboat charting or sailing vacation.

For most Americans, the primary challenge is presenting a recognizable boating license, either locally or internationally. In the United States, the individual states have the mandate to issue their citizens with boating licenses.

Obtaining A License

The body that is mandated to deal with boating laws in the United States is known as the NASBLA (National-Association of State-Boating Law-Administrators). NASBLA has partnered with specific states and territories within the USA to obtain the official recognition as the national entity for approval of power and motorized sail boating courses. This body has the authority to issue boating education cards or even operator licenses of any state, district or territory in the US.

There are however various tests to undergo before NASBLA can fully license one. Such tests may also accompany lessons as well. For example, you have to know how to swim and simple first aid measures for drowning. This makes the license holders able to save their lives or even the lives of their crew members upon an emergency. You also need to show your prowess in operations of the vessel of choice. You cannot be licensed unless you show that you can handle the vessel you are signing.

International Licenses

If you are a citizen of the United States and decide to go boating in another country, the USA license you hold still counts in the short term. However, eligibility of the same in the long-term depends on the state in question. Apart from the boating license, it is also essential to hold a proper sailing resume for international sailing purposes.

This resume is an appropriate proof of competence in the handling and maintenance of the vessel and the safety of its crew. The combination of the two, therefore, can make you legally appropriate for sailing within the borders of the US and even outside.

Proof Of Competence

NASBLA takes care of the legal aspect of boating. Other bodies are responsible for the issuance of the certificate of competence. The NauticED is a body that is tasked with the mandate of issuing such licenses within the US. Such declarations have the embodiment of the American National-Standards badge.

This is achieved only when you go through the course with an approved instructor and pass under the stipulated guidelines. Proof of competence requires a mastery of not only the practical aspect of boating but also the theoretical part as well.

Previous Trends

The current processes in obtaining a local and international boating license are different from the prior procedures.

Before 2017, all certificates of sailing were given out by associations. Candidates were not thoroughly vetted to obtain such certificates as one would only get the certificate of attendance, instead of the real declaration of competence. The process involved was just simple, for it would only take a weekend for the instructor to hand out a certificate of attendance to his student.

Under the new rules, the student’s ability has to be thoroughly evaluated under set-out rules of assessment. If the student shows weakness at any skills, (s)he may either get more training or get a certificate for a different line of competence.