On Jan.1, the state of California announced its new Boater Card requirements. This year if you are 20 years old or younger you need a Boater Card to drive a boat. The age requirements will continue to change until 2025 when all boat operators will need a Boater Card.
A California Boater Card shows that its holder has successfully taken an approved boating safety course and passed the corresponding exam. Approved online courses run a minimum of three hours to complete. Classroom and home study courses vary in length, with most classes no more than eight hours.
Boating safety course providers must be NASLBA and DBW approved and courses may be classroom, home study or online.
The lifetime card fee will be $10. The lost card replacement fee will be $5. By law, the California Boater Card fee can only cover the cost of the program. California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways cannot generate any profit from the card.
According to California law, those who are exempt from the requirement include:
- A person operating a rental vessel.
- A person operating a vessel while under the direct supervision of a person 18 years of age or older who is in possession of a California Boater Card.
- A person who is a resident of a state other than California who is temporarily operating a vessel in California for less than 60 days and meets the boating requirements, if any, of his/her state.
- A person who is a resident of a country other than the United States who is temporarily operating a vessel in California for less than 90 days and meets the boating requirements, if any, of his/her country.
- A person operating a vessel in an organized regatta or vessel race, or water ski race.
- A person who is in possession of a current commercial fishing license.
- A person who is in possession of a valid marine operator license, for the waters upon which the licensee is operating, issued by the US Coast Guard, or who is in possession of a valid certificate issued pursuant to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended.
- A person who has successfully completed a boating course approved by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.
As each year passes the age requirement for a the Boater Card will change. For instance, by Jan. 1, 2019, boat operators 25 years of age or younger will be required to possess the card, by 2020 persons 35 years of age must have a Boat Card, and so on.
For more information on how to obtain your card, a list of approved courses, and the changing age requirements year by year visit http://californiaboatercard.com/
Sierra Star Staff Report