Law will mandate California boaters to carry safety card

California boaters will need to carry a boater safety education card, beginning in 2018.
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California boaters will need to carry a boater safety education card, beginning in 2018.

The first demographic required to carry the state-mandated California Boater Card by Jan. 1 are boaters between the ages of 16 and 20.

At the start of each year after that, another age group will be required to carry the card, according to The Log, a California newspaper focused on the marine industry.

All boaters will be able to sign up for a California Boater Card once the mandate takes effect. Although boat operators 20 years old or younger must possess valid proof of education as of Jan. 1, 2018, any older person has the option of meeting the state’s licensing requirements at the same time. There is no need to wait until a specific age group is required to possess a Boater Education Card.

“Boaters can take the course now and keep a copy of their certificate, and when DBW starts issuing cards, [boaters] can go online and apply for their card,” Greg Imura of California State Parks told the paper. “We will be grandfathering in those boaters who have taken and passed a NASBLA- and California-approved course in the last three years, dated Jan. 1, 2015-Dec. 31, 2017, from the approved course vendors.”

All boat operators in California, regardless of their age, will be required to carry a California Boater Card by 2025.

The complete rollout scheduled for required boater cards based on age is available online at californiaboatercard.com/about-the-card.

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