The Temporary Certificate Program (TCP) was established to help people comply with the Boater Education Law passed in 1996. The temporary certificate (TC) is a knowledge check which satisfies the requirement for a boater to have a boating safety identification card to operate a boat in Florida.
If you are just visiting Florida, please check the list of vendors that issue paper temporary certificates, or you may take the exam online.
Currently, there is one online boating safety education provider, Boat Ed, that has completed the process to offer the TC exam online. Boat Ed’s website offering the online TC exam and study materials can be accessed below. Examinees will have the option to take the exam and/or use study materials. Please see the Boat Ed website for additional information.
When the TCP started in 1996, it was originally designed for new vessel owners. Over the years, the program has evolved to include personal watercraft rental facilities and other liveries. The exam was originally available only in paper form.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) amended Rule 68D-36.108, Florida Administrative Code, “Florida Boater Education Temporary Certificate Program,” in August 2017, to allow for the TC exam to be offered as an online examination. The rule can be accessed at the Florida Department of State website.
The FWC’s intent is to improve the availability of the TC exam for the boating public while reducing the burden on liveries whose customers need to comply with the boating safety education requirements. If the requirements are met to be an online TC exam provider, the provider will create a system that allows 24-hour, seven-days a week accessibility to the exam using tablets, laptops, or other electronic devices.
The online exam will still be 25 questions, randomly selected from a large bank of questions. If a person passes the exam, they will be provided with an electronic proof of their successful completion, including their passing score. This proof can be inspected by a livery prior to renting to ensure the prospective renter has met Florida’s boating safety education requirements. The proof is valid for seven days. The FWC will email the person their TC that is valid for 12 months from the date of the exam. The proof or TC, should be available for inspection by a law enforcement officer when operating a vessel in Florida along with a photo ID.
The impact on current TC paper exam providers is minimal. All the current requirements remain the same. They can still purchase and administer the paper TC exams, as long as their contract and insurance is valid. Whether a company is a provider of the paper TC exam, or not, FWC encourages them and their renters to use the new TC online exam.
Benefits to liveries using the online TC exam include:
- They are not required to contract with anyone to use the online TC exam.
- They are not required to purchase paper TC exams from FWC.
- They are not required to mail completed paper TCs back to FWC.
- They can provide the link for the TC online exam on their website or to their customers directly.
The TC exam, whether paper or online, is a knowledge check, not an education. The TC can not be turned in for issuance of a Boater Safety ID card that is valid for life. The TC is not valid in any other state and can not be used in another state to meet their boater safety education requirements.
Liveries are still required to verify that their customers (if born on or after January 1, 1988) have met the boating safety education requirement before allowing them to operate their vessels. In addition to a boater safety education ID card or paper TC that liveries are used to checking, they may now start accepting electronic or printed proofs from the online TC exam provider or electronic/printed TCs issued by FWC complying with the Florida boater safety law.