What You Need to Know About the California Boater Card


State legislation regarding boater safety has taken a big step in California. Boaters in the state need to take notice.

Boating safety is increasingly important, and state legislation is starting to reflect this trend. One such state, California, is phasing in a new requirement for boaters to carry proof of taking and passing a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) or state-approved boater safety education exam. Because so many of our members are located in California, we wanted to announce that they will need a new identification, called a California Boater Card, no matter their age.

The Boater Card is required for residents who operate a motorized recreational vessel on state waterways, and the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) has decided to phase it in as a requirement by the schedule below.

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

If you’re 20 or younger, now is the time to get a safety exam scheduled. You don’t want to miss out on time on the water. It may be an extra step between you and valuable boating time, but it is certainly worth the investment. The card will likely cost no more than $10, and it will remain valid for a boat operator’s lifetime. Also, data from the U.S. Coast Guard show that states with boating education have fewer accidents and fatalities.

Aren’t sure where to take a course? Find one that is NASBLA-approved at www.nasbla.org/training/courses. For those who have already passed a course, California will allow you to be “grandfathered” in with proper documentation, as long as it is submitted within six months from January 1, 2018.

We’re committed to helping boaters stay up to date on the latest in legislation and safety. We hope all our California members in good standing to get their cards, and if you have any questions, we are happy to provide assistance at info@boaterrewards.com. You can also learn more about the Boater Card, including exemptions and violations, here.

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