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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

California Boater Card

The California Boater Card will show that its holder has successfully taken and passed a NASBLA/state-approved boater safety education examination. The new requirement will begin on Jan. 1, 2018 for all persons 20 years of age and younger who operate a motorized vessel on state waterways. On that date, these boaters will be required to carry a boater card issued by DBW, unless they meet certain exemptions.

Each year after January 2018, a new age group will be added to those who are required to possess a valid card. By 2025, all persons who operate a motorized vessel on California waters will be required to have one. Once issued, the card remains valid for a boat operator’s lifetime. California Harbors and Navigation Code Section 678.11(b) contains the following phase-in schedule based on operator age:

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

You will need to pass a boating safety course that is approved by the State of California and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. Successfully completing an exam from one of these courses meets the qualifications to apply for a California Boater Card. There are several private companies that offer online courses that include studying for the test, completion of the test, and a printable PDF file of your certificate. An example for the cost of such from is a one time price of $29.95

Hopefully they will include a boat ramp loading and unloading etiquette section to the test. The lack of knowledge I witness at the Honker Cove boat ramp at Lake Davis is unbearable to watch, it effects a smooth flow and results in the ramp getting clogged up during busy periods. If want some entertainment, bring a lawn chair at Honker Cove during the 4th of July and watch the show!

The card will be issued by the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW). DBW plans to begin issuing the California Boater Cards prior to Jan. 1, 2018, implementation date. The Boater Card Technical Advisory Group anticipates that the cost of the card will be no more than $10. The lost card replacement fee will be no more than $5.

Baiocchi's Troutfitters, alway keeping you up to date, and in the loop since 1997.


  1. The process of taking a course from a private company in order to meet the necessary qualifications to apply for boater card would be very helpful. This process will make the boating experience safe for everyone.

  2. Can anyone suggest me a good private boating educational course to learn all the safety rules while boating? This boating course should also help me in earning a boater card.


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