Boating Education Legislation Introduced

February 04, 2014

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Today, Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) and Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) introduced Senate Bill (SB) 941, to require an individual to pass a boating education examination and obtain a vessel operator card from the Division of Boating and Waterways in order to operate a boat in California.

“This legislation is needed to enhance the public’s safety on our state’s waterways and minimize the loss of life, personal injury, and property damage,” stated Senator Monning.

SB 941 will require the Division of Boating and Waterways to develop a vessel operator card and issue it to individuals who provide proof that they have passed an approved examination.  Beginning on January 1, 2018, the requirement to possess a Division vessel operator card will apply to operators 20 years of age or younger with a staggered implementation date depending on the age of the individual until it eventually applies to everyone in 2025.

“Requiring first time boaters to pass a safety exam will save lives and decrease boating accidents,” Senator DeSaulnier said.  “SB 941 brings California in line with boater safety requirements found in most other states.  This bill will make California’s incredible waterways safer for all.”

California is one of six states that do not require individuals to take a boating safety course before operating a vessel.  Senator Monning introduced the legislation after hearing from constituents that have been involved in accidents due to unsafe boaters that did not have the proper knowledge to operate a vessel.

SB 941 will be referred to a Senate policy committee for a hearing.

Contact: Bethany Westfall with Senator Monning's Office at (916) 651-4017 or Sam Mahood with Senator DeSaulnier's Office at (916) 651-4007