Boater Education & Laws

In the state of Oklahoma, and in Cherokee Nation, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Marine Enforcement Section troopers enforce boating laws. U.S. Coast Guard officers and any other authorized law enforcement officers have the legal authority to stop and board your vessel in order to ensure you are complying with state and federal laws.

Titling of vessels is mandatory in Oklahoma. You must apply for a title within 30 days of the purchase or transfer of a vessel. You may operate your vessel within the first 30 days of ownership, prior to applying for your title and registration, if you carry on board the original bill of sale.

While there is no license required to operate a boat, children ages 12-15 who wish to operate a boat, sailboat or personal watercraft must complete a boater education course. They will receive a boating safety education certificate and may operate their watercraft as long as a person age 18 or older is present to take control of the watercraft when necessary.

Even if you are not required to have a boating safety education certificate, becoming certified can save you money on boat or personal watercraft insurance.


FREE in-person boater education classes are offered throughout Oklahoma.


Online boater education classes are offered, though most charge fees. Any NASBLA-approved boating safety course is accepted.

When preparing to go out on a vessel, the operator must check that the legally required equipment is on board.


All vessels must carry one wearable (Type I, II, III or V) U.S. Coast Guard–approved personal flotation device (PFD) for each person on board. In addition, vessels 16 feet in length or longer must have one Type IV U.S. Coast Guard–approved PFD on board and readily accessible. Children under 13 years of age must wear an approved PFD whenever underway on a vessel less than 26 feet in length. Each person on a personal watercraft or sailboard must wear an approved PFD. Anyone being towed on water skis or similar devices must wear an approved PFD. Ski belts are not approved PFDs.

For questions or additional information regarding boater education, contact the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Marine Enforcement Section at 405-522-1880, or in person at 220 NE 38th Terrace, Oklahoma City, OK 73105.