California Boater Safety Cards Mandatory as of January 1, 2018

December 06, 2017

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Senate Bill (SB) 941, authored by Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) in 2014 will go into law on January 1, 2018.  The bill requires boaters to pass a boating education examination and obtain a vessel operator card in order to operate a motorized boat in California.  The California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DWB) is now accepting Boater Card applications.

“California Boater Cards are needed to enhance public safety on the state’s waterways and minimize the loss of life, personal injury, and property damage.  Requiring boaters to pass a safety exam will save lives and decrease the number of boating accidents in California,” stated Senator Monning.

Beginning on January 1, 2018, the requirement to possess a DWB vessel operator card will apply to operators 20 years of age or older with a staggered implementation date depending on the age of the individual until it eventually applies to everyone in 2025.

Data consistently shows that many operators involved in accidents have not taken a boating safety course.  According to DWB, more than 800 boating accidents occurred in California last year and resulted in 50 reported deaths.

The application process is easy, and the lifetime cost of a card is $10.  The cost of the card supports the development and operation of the program.  Boaters have the option to apply before or after taking an approved boating safety course.  You can out more information about the program at: or call a toll-free telephone number:  (844) 421-8333.


Contact: Mary Dolan, (916) 651-4017