The California Boater Card will show that its holder has successfully taken and passed a NASBLA/state-approved boater safety education examination. The new requirement was effective Jan. 1, 2018 for all persons 20 years of age and younger who operate any motorized vessel on state waterways, including powered sailboats and paddlecraft. On that date, these boaters will be required to carry a boater card issued by DBW.
Each year after January 2018, a new age group will be added to those who are required to possess a valid card. By 2025, all persons who operate on California waters will be required to have one. Once issued, the card remains valid for a boat operator’s lifetime. California Harbors and Navigation Code Section 678.11(b) contains the following phase-in schedule based on operator age:
January 1, 2018 – Persons 20 years of age or younger
January 1, 2019 – Persons 25 years of age or younger
January 1, 2020 – Persons 35 years of age or younger
January 1, 2021 – Persons 40 years of age or younger
January 1, 2022 – Persons 45 years of age or younger
January 1, 2023 – Persons 50 years of age or younger
January 1, 2024 – Persons 60 years of age or younger
January 1, 2025 – All persons regardless of age
The card will be issued by the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW). DBW plans to begin issuing the California Boater Cards prior to Jan. 1, 2018, implementation date. The Boater Card Technical Advisory Group anticipates that the cost of the card will be no more than $10. The lost card replacement fee will be no more than $5.