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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : Division of Fish & Wildlife : Boating

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 Boating Safety in Delaware

 Boating Safety Class Schedule

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The Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife Office of Boating Education’s mission is to develop individual awareness, skills, commitment to safe responsible behavior, and constructive actions in safe boating. Our goal for students is to be aware of state laws regarding safety violations and how to prevent them from happening while still enjoying our waterways.

The Office of Boating Education is dedicated to teaching it's residents and visitors safe boating practices. With the help of many Boating Safety Volunteers, we strive to educate all children and adults alike. The Office of Boating Education has forged partnerships with organizations such as the US Coast Guard Axuiliary, the Power Squadron, the Delaware Safety Council and several others to help educate the public to maintain Delaware’s waterways safety and cleanliness.

Throughout the state the Office of Boating Education offers several classes which fulfill the mandatory boating education requirement during the year. For your convenience, all classes, as well as additional boating events, can be found on the Delaware Boating Safety Calendar. Lastly, the Office of Boating Education provides the public with a plethora of literature, including The Delaware Boating Handbook free of charge to anyone interested in learning about Safe Boating in Delaware.

Mandatory boating education

Successful completion of a boating safety course is mandatory for persons born on or after Jan. 1, 1978, to operate a motorized boat on Delaware waters. (NOTE: Personal watercrafts are classified as boats.)

What Delaware offers

Basic Boating Safety Course

The Basic Boating Safety Course is multifaceted. It encompasses teaching such things as knowing the rules of the waterways, distinguishing navigational aids and water depths, as well as speed limits for appropriate waterways. It includes an understanding of weather systems in order to have a safe boating experience each and every time. The course also goes over basic skills including engine mechanics. State laws, and regulations, as well as equipment required, and what to do if an officer stops your vessel are also taught. The Basic Boating Safety Course has a section on the dangers of boating under the influence. The course teaches the user how to keep the vessel comfortable and safe in all types of waves, seas, weather and conditions, and how and when to use a marine VHF radio if needed. Most importantly it, emphasizes common sense and general courtesy afforded to all boaters, and personal water craft riders. This Basic Boating Safety Course meets the requirement for mandatory boating education.

Online Course Offerings:

The following course is free and will result in a NASBLA-approved Paddlesports Safety Certificate (Please note: This is NOT a Delaware Safety Course.)

DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resource Police patrolling Delaware waterways

Why Take A Safe Boating Course?

"Along with the privilege of boating comes responsibility"

  • It's the LAW! All persons born on or after January 1, 1978 must take the Safe Boating Course.
  • The Safe Boating Course provides you with the knowledge and background to participate in a wonderful recreational activity.

  • Helps to build confidence for beginning boaters, and review knowledge in more advanced boaters.  More advanced boaters can then move on to take additional courses.

  • The knowledge learned helps to avoid the possibility of receiving tickets, violations or having to go to court.

  • The course teaches parents and minors, the obligations and responsibilities of operating both vessels and Personal Water Crafts on Delaware Waters.

  • Boating is an enjoyable activity that bears responsibility.

  • Completing the Safe Boating course enables you to receive a discount on your insurance policy.
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