SACRAMENTO (LOG NEWS SERVICE) — The Division of Boating and Waterways is now accepting applications for the California Boater Card. The card verifies its holder has passed an approved boater safety education course. Once issued, the card remains valid for an operator’s lifetime.
A new mandatory boating safety education law, which prohibits the operation of motorized vessels in California without a valid boater card issued by the DBW, will go into effect Jan. 1. The law will be phased in by age. The first group required to take the exam are boaters 20 years of age and younger. Each year after January 2018, a new age group will be added to those who are required to possess a card. By 2025, all persons who operate a motorized vessel on California waters will be required to have one. The cost of the card is $10.
There is good news for boaters who have already taken an approved course between Jan. 1, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2017. Persons who have passed an approved examination during this timeframe will have until Dec. 31, 2018 to apply for their California Boater Card to receive the “grandfathering” exemption regardless of their age.
California is one of the last states to implement some sort of mandatory boating education requirement. Repeatedly, recreational boating accident data shows many operators involved in accidents have not taken a boating safety course. For example, last year’s statistics showed more than 800 California recreational vessels were involved in reported accidents, resulting in 50 deaths. Only one of the boat operators involved in the fatal accidents had taken an approved boating safety course.
Applying for the California Boater Card is easy, officials said. Boaters have an option to apply before or after taking an approved boating safety course. A list of the options plus a list of approved courses and exemptions to the new law, are posted online at CaliforniaBoaterCard.com. A toll-free telephone support line is available at 844-421-8333.
Exemptions to the new law include those operating a rental vessel or possessing a current commercial fishing license.