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Boating Education

Sign Up for a Boating Safety Course

Many recreational boaters in New Mexico are required by law to complete a boating safety course and carry a boater education card. Everyone is eligible and encouraged to take a boating safety course and receive the card. For full details, please read the regulations for boating safety education.

The New Mexico boater education card is valid for your lifetime and meets the requirements for recreational boating education in many other states.

You are required to have a boater education card if you meet the following criteria:

      • You operate a vessel propelled by a motor (gasoline and/or electric).
      • You operate a sailboat.

You are exempt if you meet the following criteria:

      • You were born before January 1, 1989.
      • You are not a New Mexico resident and hold a valid boater education card from another state.
      • You are renting a boat and have received safety instructions and have completed a dockside safety checklist provided by the rental agent.
      • You operate a government vessel exempt from state registration.

You have a 30-day or 45-day exemption if you meet the following criteria:

      • You have recently purchased your boat and can show the bill of sale or boat registration that documents the date of purchase. After 30 days you must have a boater education card.
      • You have moved to New Mexico from another state and can show a valid boater education card from another state. After 45 days you must have a New Mexico boater education card.

1. Study and pass a state-approved boating safety course from one of the following options:

2. Receive a certification of completion.

      • Once you pass the boating safety course, you will be provided with a certificate of completion. If provided with an electronic copy, be sure to print it. This is your proof of passing the course. Your certificate serves as a temporary card for 45 days, beginning the on day of course completion.

3. Receive a New Mexico boater education card.

      • If you completed an online course, your official card will be mailed to you by the course provider. If you completed the classroom course taught by a New Mexico state park ranger, your card will be mailed within four weeks. You are encouraged to email our staff if you have not received your card within 30 days or call 888-667-2757.

You may request a replacement boater education card if it was previously issued by New Mexico State Parks, and either your legal name has been changed, you need to correct personal information, or your card was lost, stolen, or destroyed. The fee for a replacement card is $10.

If you need to replace a boater education card that was issued by an online course provider, please contact the online course provider to request a replacement card.

To receive a replacement card:

  1. Complete a Boater Education Card Replacement Affidavit.
  2. Mail your completed affidavit, along with a check or money order for $10, made payable to New Mexico State Parks, to:

New Mexico State Parks
Boating Safety Program
1220 S Saint Francis Drive
Santa Fe, NM 87505

Please allow four weeks to receive your replacement card. There is no temporary card available while you wait to receive your replacement.

Classroom Course

Free, instructor-led classes offer student boaters the chance to interact with an experienced teacher, learn specific local boating information, and network with other boaters. New Mexico state park rangers and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers teach boating safety courses year-round throughout New Mexico. Classes are usually scheduled as one full, eight-hour day.

Find a classroom near you

The class schedule shows all upcoming classes taught by New Mexico state park rangers and classes reported from U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary instructors.

Internet Course

Student boaters now have convenient online methods to receive a boater education card through internet courses. Below is a list of state-approved online course providers. Any courses other than the ones listed below are not approved for New Mexico residents. New Mexico State Parks does not recommend one course provider over another. Some courses are free, others charge a fee. The fee is determined solely at the discretion of the course provider. New Mexico State Parks does not receive any money from the course fee charges.
Cost: $39.95
Customer service: 800-607-2329

Cost: $44.95
Customer service: 800-830-2268

Boat-Ed (Español)
Tarfia: $44.95
Atención al cliente: 800-830-2268
Cost: $39.95
Customer service: 866-764-2628
Cost: $34.95
Customer service: 888-885-8830

Boat U.S. Foundation
Cost: Free
Customer service: 800-245-2628

Cost: $59.95
Customer service: 800-830-2268

Home Study Program

Study at home

If you would like to prepare for your boating safety course, whether it be a classroom course or online, you may opt to study at home. The home study guide includes the basics of safe boating that all recreational boaters should know.

The easiest way to study at home is by reading the online study guide for Boat New Mexico. You do not have to register for the course to access the online study guide. Print versions of the study guide are also available upon request. To request a print version of the study guide, email the Boating Program of New Mexico State Parks with the following information:

  1. First and last name
  2. Mailing address (including city, state, and zip code)
  3. Language of book (Spanish or English)

Send only one request per email. Allow up to four weeks for delivery of the home study guide.

If you have any questions regarding the boater education card home study program, email the Boating Program or call 888-667-2757.

Looking for additional boating education options?

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Boating courses provide instruction to boaters at all levels, from the fundamental to the advanced. Classes are taught by experienced and knowledgeable instructors committed to the highest standards of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Paddle Sports Safety Course A free online paddling safety course for new paddlers to learn the basics and as a great refresher for experienced paddlers. The course does not certify a person to operate a motorboat but is a great learning tool.

ACA-Approved Paddle Sports Safety Course American Canoe Association approved course offered through Boat-Ed. Although paddle sports education is not required, all participants are responsible for learning the state laws and regulations to stay safe on the water.

The FREE Navigation Rules Study Guide