State Will End Online Boater Safety Certifications

Still putting off applying for your N.H. Safe Boater Education Certificate? The days of obtaining a certificate by passing the test online are numbered. Starting New Year’s Day, anyone who doesn’t already have a certificate must take a monitored exam at a testing center.

The certificate requirement stems from a 2002 state law mandating that all powerboat operators pass an exam sanctioned by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), a group that includes the N.H. Department of Safety and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The law has been phased-in since its passage, with a different group of boaters each year required to take the test based on year of birth. By January, 2008 the law will cover everyone. Boaters are only required to pass the test once, and the certificate is valid for the boater’s lifetime.

While qualifying safety courses are offered throughout the year and the state has a home video option, taking the test online has been a popular choice. Visitors logging on to can study the course materials and take a practice test before clicking through the final exam. The $15 fee for the certificate can also be paid online.

State officials point out that boaters can still exercise the online option to obtain a certificate between now and the end of the year. Those who pass the test will be sent their certificate by mail. Boaters who have been certified in another state are exempt from the New Hampshire requirement if the certification meets or exceeds NASBLA standards.

Complete information on the program can be accessed online at or by calling the New Hampshire Department of Safety at 888-254-2125.

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