Boating safety course becomes mandatory in California in 2015

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New boating laws are set to go into effect in California with the start of the new year, including one that would require anyone operating a boat to complete a vessel operator course.

Co-authored by Democratic state Sens. Bill Monning and Mark DeSaulnier, SB 941 requires recreational boaters to pass a sanctioned boating education course and obtain a vessel operator card in order to operate a motorboat. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law in September.

Brown also signed Senate bills 1162 (reclassifying certain boating-related violations as an infraction instead of a misdemeanor) and 1424 (modifying a land grant to allow a Northern California marina to perform dredging and other pro-recreation work), according to The Log.

Beyond the walls of the state Capitol, other government agencies approved measures affecting recreational anglers.

The California Fish and Game Department said a licensing requirement for retailers that sell live bait at freshwater venues takes effect next year.

Meanwhile, a regional agency altered bluefin tuna catch limitations and recommended that California increase its Pacific halibut fishery allocation.

Lastly, the Fish and Game Commission is expected to begin a rule-making process for ocean salmon and a second cleanup in Marine Protected Areas. The ocean salmon rulemaking will be discussed in February and a decision will be made two months later; the Marine Protected Areas cleanup would be vetted in July.

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