DEEP: Boating Frequently Asked Questions

Boating Frequently Asked Questions

Boating Certification | Personal Watercraft | Registration and Hull Identification Numbers

Boating Certification

  1. How long is the Basic Boating Course?

The boating course is an eight-hour course. You must attend each day the course is held, and pass the exam given on the final day of class. You must score eighty percent (80%) or better in order to pass. The DEEP boating course is combined with the personal watercraft course.

  1. I have owned a boat between 1987 and 1992, can I be grandfathered?

No. The grandfather clause expired as of October 1, 1997. Anyone applying for his or her Certificate after that date needs to take a boating course.

  1. I took a United States Power Squadron Boating Course ten years ago, but I lost my course completion certificate.  What should I do?

You will need to contact the United States Power Squadron at 888-367-8777. If your course completion diploma cannot be located, you will need to complete a boating course.

  1. I took a boating course through the United States Power Squadron in 1968 and I have the diploma.  Can I use the course completion diploma to obtain my Safe Boating Certificate? 

Yes. As long as you have the course completion diploma you can apply for you Connecticut Safe Boating Certificate. The completion diploma does not have an expiration date.

  1. I took an on-line boating course.  Is that acceptable?

No. Not only does a boating course have to be State of Connecticut and National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) approved, but it also has to have a minimum of eight hours of classroom instruction. The exam has to be a proctored exam.

  1. I own a boat with a small electric trolling motor.  Am I required to register that boat and do I need a Boating Certificate to operate the boat? 

Yes. Any vessel with any size motor is required to be registered and numbered before entering Connecticut waters. Also, any sailboat over 19 1/2 feet powered by sail alone is required to be registered and numbered before entering Connecticut waters. In order to operate that vessel, you must possess a Safe Boating Certificate.

  1. I live in another state.  Do I need the Boating Certificate to operate my boat on Connecticut waters?

The Safe Boating Certificate was designed for people who own property in the State of Connecticut, residents of the State of Connecticut or people who have a vessel required to be registered or display a Certificate of Decal in the State of Connecticut. If you live in another state and operate your vessel on Connecticut waters for more than sixty days in a calendar year, you will need the boating certificate. You will also need a Certificate of Decal (which is handled through DMV.)

  1. My child is ten-years-old and wants to operate the family boat. Does he need a Boating Certificate? 

Yes, he needs the Safe Boating Certificate to operate the vessel. He must take a boating course in order to obtain the boating certificate. By law, any person under the age of 16 may operate a vessel without being certified, other than a PWC, if under the direct supervision of a person 18 or older, who has had their Safe Boating Certificate (SBC) or Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation (CPWO) for at least two years.

  1. I have been boating for 25 years and know more than a course can teach me.  Is there another way I can obtain a Safe Boating Certificate?  

Yes, there is another way to obtain your boating certificate. You can take the DEEP Equivalency Exam. This exam is designed for the experienced boater who knows the rules and regulations for safe boating on Connecticut waters. Not only does the experienced boater need to know about boating, but must also need to know about canoes, personal watercraft, yachts, and sailboats. Please contact Sue at (860)434-8638.

As of October 1, 2008, upon passing the Equivalency Exam, you will qualify for a Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation.

  1. I just purchased a boat and was told I can get a temporary certificate.  What do I need to do?

You will need to go to your local DEEP Processing Office with your newly issued registration (the temporary certificate is issued to the person whose name is on the registration) and a photo ID. The cost of the temporary certificate is $50 and is valid three months from the date that you registered the boat. Within the three month time period, you must take a boating course and get your Safe Boating Certificate. No person shall be issued more than one temporary certificate.

  1. I have a valid Coast Guard Operating License.  Do I need the Safe Boating Certificate to operate my boat?

If you have a current master, mate, or pilot license issued through the Coast Guard, you do not need the Connecticut Safe Boating Certificate to operate your boat. You must keep the valid license with you at all times. You cannot use the valid Coast Guard License to obtain your Connecticut Safe Boating Certificate. You would have to take a boating course or provide us with proof that you have taken an approved boating course to obtain a safe boating certificate.

  1. What is required to become a DEEP boating instructor? 

First, you must complete an application to become a DEEP Volunteer Instructor. You must also  teach two courses per year (ten hours each) and attend an annual re-certification workshop (2 hours). The benefit of watching the face of a student while presenting them with their diploma is priceless. Teaching the material also keeps you abreast of current changes in boating law and makes you a safer boater.

  1. How do I get my Personal Watercraft Certificate?

A boating course and a personal watercraft course or a combination course need to be completed and then you must apply for the Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation (CPWO). The DEEP offers courses which satisfy CPWO requirements.

  1. Why do I need to take both courses if I don't own a boat?

The Certificate of Personal Watercraft is a certificate that will allow you to operate both a boat and a personal watercraft.

  1. I just purchased a personal watercraft.  Can I get a temporary certificate?

Yes. In order to receive your temporary certificate, you must complete an approved two and one-half hour personal watercraft course and the personal watercraft must be registered in your name. Bring your new registration and your course completion diploma to your local DEEP office. The cost of the certificate is $50 and is valid three months from the date of vessel registration. Within the three month time period, you must complete a boating course and apply for your Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation.

  1. Can my 10-year-old daughter operate our personal watercraft if she has her Certificate of Personal watercraft Operation?

Yes. However, there are two conditions that must be met to do so. First, she must be accompanied on board by someone eighteen years of age or older who holds a Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation. Secondly, as of October 1, 2006, new legislation prohibits any passenger from riding on a PWC behind the operator unless the passenger is able to securely hold on to the person in front of them or to the watercraft's handholds and keep both feet on the personal watercraft's deck to maintain balance while in operation.

Please Note: No person under 16 years of age, who has been issued a Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation (CPWO) after March 9, 2004, may operate a personal watercraft without the onboard supervision of a person who is at least 18 years of age and in possession of a CPWO.

  1. I live in New York and visit Connecticut during the summer months.  Can I operate my personal watercraft without the Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation?

No. Every person operating a personal watercraft on Connecticut waters must possess their Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation. In order to receive that certificate an approved basic boating course and an approved personal watercraft handling course must be completed and the certificate must be on board while operating the vessel.

However, Connecticut does have reciprocity with New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire  and will accept certificates issued by those states.

  1. I took a Power Squadron PWC course in Virginia.  Will Connecticut accept that course? 

No. The course is not approved by the State of Connecticut. 

Hull Identification Numbers

  1. Must my boat built before 1972 have a Hull Identification Number issued by the DEEP?  

    No. The DMV will assign a number to fill the HIN space in their computer database.

  2. Must every boat have a Hull Identification Number?

    No. Vessels constructed before 1972 are not required to possess Hull Identification Numbers. Homemade boats that are not required to be registered (not motorized or sailboats less than 19 1/2 feet long) are not required to have HIN.

  3. Must my boat’s Hull Identification Number be 12 characters long?

    Yes, with the following exceptions: if constructed before 1972 may have zero to 15 characters or if constructed after October 1972 it may have been issued 11 or 13 characters by manufacturer. Most foreign manufactured vessels must be issued a 12 character Connecticut HIN if registered or numbered in Connecticut.

  4. Must every boat have a Hull Identification Number?

    No. Vessels constructed before 1972 are not required to possess Hull Identification Numbers. Homemade boats that are not required to be registered (not motorized or sailboats less than 19 1/2 feet long) are not required to have HIN.

  5. Can I come to any DEEP office and get my Hull Identification Number attached?

    No. You must submit your completed application to the Boating Division. Once your application is received, one of our Environmental Conservation Officers will contact you and schedule a date and time to visit your vessel.

  6. How much does a Connecticut Hull Identification Number cost?  

    There is no cost for a HIN.

  7. Must I have a Safe Boating Certificate/Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation to register a boat?

    No. The boating certificate is only required to operate a Connecticut registered boat. There is a line on the Vessel Registration form for the certificate number. It does not have to be filled in.