CALIFORNIA BOATER CARD

California’s boating education law went into effect January 1, 2018 for all persons 20 years of age and younger. The law will be phased-in for all boaters over the next 8 years. If you operate a motorized vessel on California waterways you will be required to have a California Boater Card. The California Boater Card is good for life.

The California Boater Card is proof that you have successfully completed an approved boating safety course and allows you to go boating on state waterways. It is often mistakenly called the California boating license, however, because a California Boater Card does not expire and does not need to be renewed, it is not license.

BOATER EXAM

EDUCATIONAL VIDEO SERIES

There are 133 total video’s in this series  —  here are the initial few.

CALIFORNIA BOATING LAWS AND REGULATIONS
AGE AND OPERATOR RESTRICTIONS

California law requires a person to be 16 years of age or older and in possession of his/her California Boater Card to legally operate a vessel powered by a motor of 15 hp or more, including personal watercraft (PWCs).

Exceptions to this law are:

  • Persons 12 to 15 years of age may operate a vessel powered by a motor of 15 hp or more, including PWCs, if they are supervised on board by a person at least 18 years of age and in possession of his/her California Boater Card.
  • There is no age restriction for operating a sailboat under 30 ft. long (with wind as the main source of propulsion) or a dinghy used between a moored vessel and shore or between two moored vessels.

It is illegal to permit a person under the age of 16 to operate a vessel powered by a motor of 15 hp or more, including PWCs, without onboard supervision by a person 18 years of age or older who is in possession of his/her California Boater Card.

As of the dates shown below, these boaters will be required to carry a boater card issued by DBW, unless they meet certain exemptions.

  • January 1, 2018 Persons 20 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2019 Persons 25 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2020 Persons 35 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2021 Persons 40 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2022 Persons 45 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2023 Persons 50 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2024 Persons 60 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2025 All persons regardless of age