The episode starts with SpongeBob and his class at Mrs. Puff's Boating School. While everyone is bored hoping for class to end as she is talking about steering, SpongeBob is taking notes in an excited personality. When class ends, Mrs. Puff reminds the class that they are going on a field trip to The Bikini Bottom Museum of Boating tomorrow and the bus will pick them up at 8:00 AM. When SpongeBob realizes that this is finally his chance to impress Mrs. Puff and get his driver's license, he reads a 7,400 page book called "The History of All Boating Ever". When SpongeBob finishes the book at 7:59 AM on the next day, he ends up falling asleep when he realizes that tomorrow is today and he's going to be late for the bus.
He races it once it leaves his house. Mrs. Puff not wanting to deal with SpongeBob's misbehavior, tells Nat, the bus driver, to speed up. But SpongeBob suddenly comes in through the window. While SpongeBob begins talking to Mrs. Puff, she realizes SpongeBob's bad smell and gives him a "Shower in a Can". SpongeBob then starts talking about the trivia of boating, which starts to give Mrs. Puff a headache. So, when the class finally arrives at the museum, SpongeBob is paying no attention as he is still talking about boating to Mrs. Puff and crashes into the front window and gets converted into a puddle outside the bus door, he then is back up again when he sees the museum in front of him.
Mrs. Puff explains it was the largest boat ever that is now converted into a museum and can no longer be operated unless it goes to its yearly check at port. Throughout the day, SpongeBob keeps interrupting Mrs. Puff to tell the students what she's about to say, much to her chagrin. Right when the class is about to leave, Mrs. Puff notices that SpongeBob has gone missing, it turns out that he was in the driving room of the boat! He turns on the air conditioners on very high without noticing, which accidentally starts the boat.
When Mrs. Puff finds SpongeBob as she came back into the museum, she tries to stop the boat when she noticed it has been started boating (SpongeBob thought it was a projection screen), but she's never driven any boat so advanced before! So when she notices that the boat is going to crash into Bikini Bottom after SpongeBob turns the boat on Turbo Speed, SpongeBob tries to stop the boat by battening down the hatches, lowering the anchor, uttering a hearty seaman's laugh, and doing the reverse 720 tailspin (which has never successfully been done before). And right when the boat is about to destroy Bikini Bottom, it stops, only tapping the first building. When Mrs. Puff and SpongeBob leave the boat, Mrs. Puff gives SpongeBob his driver's license due to her impression.
But she is outraged when she finds out that the museum owner was simply taking the boat into Bikini Bottom for a checkup at port and that he was doing all of the driving. So she tears up SpongeBob's driver's license. SpongeBob becomes saddened. The museum owner then suggests that they should go get some ice cream to cheer SpongeBob up. When the three are about to go have ice cream, SpongeBob notices that the headlights of the boat are still on. So as the museum owner and Mrs. Puff tell SpongeBob not to touch anything, he flips the boat on the two as Mrs. Puff inflates once again saying "Good thing you studied".
The music that plays during the boat museum montage is the theme song from the 1950s British radio sitcom, The Navy Lark.
The beginning of The Complete History of Boating EVER, "In the beginning, Neptune created the sail" is a parody of the beginning of the Holy Bible, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth".
The fish that was tugging the boat was in front of the boat. When the camera zoomed out he wasn't there. You couldn't really tell if that was SpongeBob who made the museum flip onto him. In fact, it seemed like he was going to take the museum to port when it got to Bikini Bottom.
SpongeBob really was driving because the tugboat was never there before and the engines and everything else were on, and also everything started moving when SpongeBob was using the controls. The tugboat guy might be a part of the organization that makes sure SpongeBob stays out of boats all together.
When the camera shows a close-up of the history book, SpongeBob's legs disappear.
When SpongeBob stops the museum, it shows that the bow on the boat lightly taps the first building. But later, when it shows the tugboat guy, it shows in the background that he isn't even near the city, which wouldn't give him enough room to be there anyway.
When SpongeBob and Mrs. Puff see the tugboat guy, the headlights are off. When SpongeBob looks back at the boat, the headlights are suddenly on.