Boating safety is an important thing to learn before operating a boat. All newer boaters must pass an Ohio boating class before getting behind the wheel. Boat operators born on or after January 1, 1982, must complete a boating course or pass a proficiency exam. This law also applies to adults supervising younger boaters.

Classroom Boating Courses

Classroom boating courses offer hands-on instruction with audio and visual materials and give boaters a chance to ask questions directly to an instructor. Some courses are free, and others may charge a fee, depending on when and where they take place.

Instructors approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) conduct the courses, which include a minimum of eight hours of teaching and a written exam. Some classes take place all in one day, usually a Saturday, while others take place over several days or weeks with each class lasting a couple hours.

The U.S. Power Squadron and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary also offer longer boating courses that cover additional material useful for boating knowledge and safety. If you opt for the longer course, it will also satisfy the Ohio education requirement.

You can use the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) website to locate a boating course near you. Two locations offer courses in Toledo:

YMCA Toledo- Summit
306 Bush St.

Offered by: USCGA Flotilla 9C 16-15 Toledo

Metroparks Hall Wildwood Preserve
5100 W Central Ave

Offered by: ODNR Watercraft Maumee Bay

Other Ways to Satisfy Ohio’s Boating Education Law

If you would rather go through the course materials at your pace and complete the proficiency test at home, you can do so with the online courses. All of these courses include a fee for administering a proof of boater education certificate. The ODNR approves the following four websites for administering the boating course:

The NASBLA website has more options for approved online courses, but these four are established with ODNR and will expedite obtaining your education requirement card.

If you wish to cover the materials in book form and take a written test, you may request a home study packet. The packet includes a workbook and a written exam that you must mail back to ODNR to for grading. Once you pass the test, you will receive your education card by mail.

Finally, experienced boaters may take the proficiency exam by making an appointment at any ODNR Watercraft Office. You must pass the test with a score of 70 percent or better. ODNR recommends you request a home study packet before attempting the exam.

These agencies created these boating courses to keep you and others safe while on Ohio waters. If you suffer an injury in a boating accident, call Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault Contact our office today to set up a free consultation, or call us directly at 419-843-6663 to get started.