US Army Corps of Engineers
Rock Island District Website

The Mississippi River Project staff offer classroom style boating safety courses each year through the Illinois Boating Safety Education Program. People from any of the states that surround Illinois can take this course and receive their boaters safety card, which is good in many of the surrounding states. Throughout the year, thousands of people operate motorized watercraft on Mississippi River Project waters, many for their first time. So, we encourage people of all ages and experience levels to take the course. Each of us has the responsibility to keep this lifetime leisure activity free from tragedy and personal loss to ourselves and our fellow boaters.

Boating Safety Education Course consists of a minimum eight hours of instruction. These courses cover the basics of boating safety, equipment requirements, navigation, motorboat registration and titling, emergency measures and boating laws. Persons 12 and over completing the minimum eight hours of instruction and successfully completing the final examination will receive a State of Illinois Certificate of Competency. Illinois residents born on or after January 1, 1998 are required to complete the course in order to obtain their boating license.

Who Must Take The Course?

On January 1, 1978, Illinois law was passed that persons at least 12 years of age and less than 18 years of age may only operate a motorboat if:

  • They have in possession a valid Boating Education Certificate of Competency issued by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Safety Education Division, or
  • They are accompanied on the motorboat and under direct control of a parent of guardian, or a person at least 18 years of age designated by a parent or guardian.

Two Ways To Take The Course

Instructor-led Classes- The traditional class method is through an 8 hour instructor-led class structure, taught over the course of one day. Participants are required to pass an exam to complete the course.

Classes offered at the Mississippi River Project Office in Pleasant Valley, IA. They run from 8:00 AM till 4:30 PM and you must be present for the entire day to complete the class. Call 309-794-5338 to reserve your spot in the class.

(Due to current health and safety concerns surrounding novel Coronavirus-19, April and May dates for Boat Safety Courses have been cancelled. Courses may be rescheduled later in the summer. Further notices will be posted as more information becomes available. USACE staff appreciate your understanding.)

Online Self-Study CourseStudents may study the course material at their own pace, completing chapter reviews along the way.  At the end of the course material the student will be required to pass an exam. Student certification will be mailed by the course provider.

Two Providers For On-line Boating Safety Course and Certification: