Skip to Main Content

Start Of Main Content

Boat safety: why get certified

Taking an approved boat safety course may net you an insurance discount.

Father and daughter on a boat.

There are plenty of good reasons to be an educated boat operator. Chief among them: safety. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 77 percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator did not receive boating safety instruction.

The good news, though, is that saving lives and reducing injuries can be as easy as taking a boater safety course. That way, you familiarize yourself with operation basics and etiquette, as well as state and federal waterway rules.

TRUE or FALSE: All vessels must have enough accessible life jackets for every child and adult on board.

ANSWER: True. Life jacket use could prevent more than 80 percent of boating fatalities .


TRUE or FALSE: Excessive speed and alcohol use are the top two contributing factors of boating accidents.

ANSWER: False. The top two known factors are operator inattention and operator inexperience. Excessive speed ranks No. 4, and alcohol use is No. 6. Obey all speed limits and never drive under the influence.


TRUE or FALSE: When two motorized vessels look to cross in the water, the boat that has the other on its starboard (aka right) side must give way.  

ANSWER: True. This “give-way vessel” should slow down and/or cross behind the “stand-on vessel.”


TRUE or FALSE: Carbon monoxide poisoning is only a problem on boats with enclosed passenger areas.

ANSWER: False. Backdrafts, other boats and blocked exhaust outlets can cause carbon monoxide accumulation even on open vessels.

Since knowing basics like these is the key to safe waterways, some states may require completion of a boat safety course. Boat Ed® offers courses and tests that are recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard, approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and meet your state’s certification standards. See the state-by-state guide at

The courses may also qualify you for a 10 percent discount on your State Farm® boat insurance. To earn it, all the boat’s operators must complete your state’s Boat Ed or other qualifying course, online or in person.

For more information about how to qualify for the boat insurance discount, contact your State Farm agent.

State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates) is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites hyperlinked from this page. State Farm has no discretion to alter, update, or control the content on the hyperlinked, third party site. Access to third party sites is at the user's own risk, is being provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any of the products which may be referenced on such third party sites.

Select a product to start a quote.


Also Important

Boating Emergencies: 8 Safety Tips

Boating Emergencies: 8 Safety Tips

Help stay safe on the water by making sure you're prepared.

Boat Insurance Basics: What's Covered

Boat Insurance Basics: What's Covered

Boat insurance can vary in what they do and do not cover based on the boat, the waters it will traffic, how many months the boat will be used, and other items.

Related Articles

Ahoy! Do You Know These Nautical Rules of the Road?

Ahoy! Do You Know These Nautical Rules of the Road?

Whether you're fishing or cruising, it's crucial to know boating safety requirements.

Boat Trailer Safety

Boat Trailer Safety

Learn about towing equipment and how to adjust your driving while towing a boat.

Essential Spring Boat Maintenance Tips

Essential Spring Boat Maintenance Tips

Take care of your boat before hitting the water this season. Prepare for a safe summer on the water with these essential boat maintenance steps.