Many people enjoy spending time on Mississippi’s incredible waterways through recreational boating and water activities. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks aims to encourage and foster a culture of safe boating practices so that our recreational public can continue spending time outdoors and on the water. Equipping the public with these safe boating practices bolsters our mission of conservation and public safety.

Any person born after June 30, 1980, must complete a boater education course before operating a boat in Mississippi. Persons under twelve (12) years of age must be accompanied by a person twenty-one (21) years of age or older while on board the boat in order to operate the boat. 

All persons operating a boat or personal watercraft (PWC) on Mississippi’s public waterways, must have, in their possession, proof of successfully completing a boater education course while operating a boat or PWC. 

What is Boater Education?

The Boater Education Program is designed to reduce boating and water-related accidents.

Course topics include: 

  • Navigation rules
  • Hypothermia
  • Water safety
  • Proper Personal Flotation Devices (PFD's)
  • Engine cut off switches (EOC's)

Boater Education Courses:

In-Person Courses:

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) offers boater education courses free of charge at locations across the state for those wishing to learn more about legal and safe boating practices for boat operators. The state course taught by MDWFP officers and volunteers involves six hours of in-class study, and pre-registration is required. 

To obtain boater education certification, students must be at least 10 years of age and must attend all classroom hours and pass a written exam. 

The Mississippi Boating Basics courses are accepted nationwide. 

Online Courses:

For those who would prefer an online course option, the Mississippi Boating Basics provides an online version of their boating education course. Most insurance companies honor the completion of accredited online courses by providing reductions in insurance premiums, but we suggest checking with your insurance company.

The following online boating education courses are approved and accepted by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks:

Please note: these courses may not be accepted by other states. We suggest verifying its accreditation with the state you are planning on visiting. These courses are provided by independent vendors, and any problems/questions from the courses should be directed to those vendors.

Search for an in-person boater education course.

Duplicate Boater Education Card:

If you have misplaced or lost your boater education card, you can purchase a duplicate card and download your temporary card online. The fee for a duplicate card is $3.00.

You can purchase a duplicate card:


Contact your local Education Coordinator:

For more information regarding becoming a Hunter or Boater Education Instructor or to find someone to present information on Hunter and Boater Education, please contact the Education Coordinator for your area.

For more information related to the Hunter and Boater Education program, please call the MDWFP Education Desk at (601)-432-2180 or (601)-432-2181.