Do You Need A License For An Inflatable Boat?

All cars will require you a license to drive them legally. But to drive a boat, having a license may not be compulsory. It depends on the boat you will drive. 

So, do you need a license for an inflatable boat?

A license is not necessary if the maximum speed of your inflatable boat is under 10 knots (18.5 km/h). If your boat can exceed this speed, you will have to obtain a boating license to drive it. 

Let’s learn more about the requirement of a boating license for inflatable boats. Besides, we will provide you with a safety guide when boating. Windrider of The Rockies!

Let’s get right into the details!

Do You Need A License For An Inflatable Boat

To drive an inflatable boat, having a license may not be compulsory.

Do You Need A License For An Inflatable Boat?

A license to drive a boat is not as obligatory as a car driving license. The capacity of your inflatable boat’s engine will decide if you need a license or not.

Some inflatable boats them no engine, but some others come with powerful motors. 

You won’t have to get a license if your dinghy has a speed capacity under 10 knots. But a powerful inflatable boat that can reach a higher speed will require a boat license. 

Normally, boat licenses will be valid for one to three years. To get a license for driving a boat, you must be at least 16 years old. However, in some places, children from age 12 can obtain restricted boat licenses. 

If you need a boat license to use your inflatable, you can follow the steps below to get one. 

  • Step 1. Learn carefully about the requirements of boating education in your state. 
  • Step 2. Attend a course on boating safety and education. You can register to learn online or in person. 
  • Step 3. To finish the course, you will have to do a boat license test. You have to pass this test to take the boat license. 
  • Step 4. Complete paying for the course and the license. Then, you will receive your license to drive the boat. 

Once you obtain the license, remember to carry it along with you whenever you travel on the water. 

Do You Need A License For An Inflatable Boat

You can register for online boating education and safety course.

Safety Guide For Boating With Inflatable Boats

Though you need a license or not, it’s essential to know how to drive an inflatable boat safely. You should keep in mind the following safety tips when boating with a dinghy. 

Check your boat before hitting the water

Before every trip on the water, you need to take a safety check for your inflatable boat. 

After the boat gets fully blown up, you should inspect it thoroughly. Thereby, you can realize and fix any hole or tear on the boat. 

Besides, remember to check all air inlet valves of the boat. They should be tightly-closed so that air can’t escape. 

Never drag the boat on the ground

There may be sharp objects on the ground that can damage your inflatable boat. So, if you drag your boat on this rough surface, something may puncture it. Also, drag will make your boat wear out quickly. 

Before and after using the boat, you should lift and carry it. If it’s too heavy, you can put it on launching wheels. 

Always wear life jackets

Life jackets will save your life in case your inflatable boat gets accidents. Thus, you have to wear a life jacket during boating time. It will keep you from drowning if your boat sinks. 

Do You Need A License For An Inflatable Boat

Always wear life jackets.

Temperature can affect the air pressure

The temperature change is another thing you should pay attention to. The air inside your boat will change its size according to the temperature. 

On hot days, high temperatures will make the air expand, and over-inflation may happen. To solve this problem, you can let some air escape. 

On the other hand, in cold weather, the volume of air will reduce a bit. Your inflatable boat will operate less efficiently. You should bring along an air pump to add some air when necessary. 

Don’t forget to bring essential items

Do You Need A License For An Inflatable Boat

If your trip is short, you don’t have to take along many things. However, for a multi-day journey, you should bring the following items. 

  • Boat repair kit: High-quality inflatable boats are very durable, but everything may happen. The repair kit will help you fix some simple problems with your boat.
  • Manual air pump: You will probably need to re-inflate your boat. Thus, take a manual air pump with you to use anywhere and at any time. 
  • First aid kit: For a long trip, bringing a first aid kit is very important
  • Backup batteries: Your phone will run out of battery soon, and you need to recharge it. Backup batteries will be helpful if you are somewhere without electricity. 
  • Other essential items: Maps, flashlights, flares, and whistles are some other things you should have on your boat. 

Choose the right inflatable boat

There are many types of inflatable boats for different purposes of use. 

You can go boating on a calm river with a normal boat. But, for white water rafting, you will need a specially designed boat for this activity. Knowing well your boat will keep you safe when you’re on the water. 

Know local boating laws

Before starting your trip, it’s necessary to learn the requirements for boating.

Some places can have regulations about the age, boat license, or boating education certificate. You can search for the exact information on the official website of competent authorities. 

Attend safety course for boating

You should equip yourself with some safety knowledge when boating with inflatable boats. You can take a course and do some practice before going on a long trip. 

Do You Need A License For An Inflatable Boat

Attend boat safety class

Always keep in touch with others

It’s necessary to let your family or friends know the intended time and location of your trip. During your trip, you should also inform them about your current location. In this way, if any accident occurs, you will get help quickly. 

Avoid boating in bad weather

Before you hit the water on your inflatable dinghy, don’t forget to check the weather forecast. 

If there may be a storm or heavy rain, you should postpone the trip. Also, while boating, if the weather turns bad, you should go back immediately.

Get some protective gear against the sun

Exposing yourself to the sun is not good for your health. The harmful sun rays can cause many problems for your eyes and skin. Therefore, you should know how to protect yourself from these rays. 

It’s better to apply sun cream with high SPF and wear sunglasses. Putting on sun-protective clothing will be necessary if you intend to make a long journey.

Only carry a specified number of passengers

Each inflatable boat will have a specified loading capacity. Thus, the total weight of people and belongings on your boat should not exceed its capacity. Otherwise, you could put yourself and passengers in danger.

Do You Need A License For An Inflatable Boat

Only carry a specified number of passengers.

Avoid taking alcohol while boating

Alcoholic drinks will make you not alert enough to control the inflatable boat. So, don’t take any alcohol while boating to protect yourself from danger.

Besides, you should always keep your eyes on the surroundings. In this way, you can avoid unwanted accidents with other boats, floating objects, or swimming people. 


Hopefully, you have got the answer to the question ‘Do you need a license for an inflatable boat?’

Depending on the power of your boat’s engine, you would know whether you need a license to drive it or not. However, in any case, you should follow safety tips when boating to have a safe trip with your inflatable boat. 

If you have any questions related to the topic of the article, do not forget to contact us for the earliest answer.

Thank you for reading!


Rate this post