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Boating safety course becomes mandatory in California in 2015

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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