The California State Parks, Division of Boating and Waterways, has announced new, mandatory, safety-training courses for anyone operating a motorized recreational vessel.
The state’s new California Boater Card will become required starting January 1, 2018, for those ages 12 through 20. Each year after, the age requirement goes up, until 2025, when all boaters will be required to take the course.
On March 1, the first day of the annual Fred Hall Fishing and Boat Show in Long Beach, the volunteers in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary’s booth had just received the new regulations. According to a published report in the Fred Hall Show program, the cards will cost $10 and will be received after passing a state-approved school. Similar to the DMV’s traffic-school program, courses will be offered in classrooms, home study, or online, and run three to eight hours in length. Once passing the course, an individual’s boater card will be good for life.
Just like fishing licenses, the operator of a recreational vessel must have the card in their possession while boating.
The report stated, “In 2015, 724 California recreational vessels were involved in reported accidents and 49 boaters died. Only one operator in the fatal accidents had taken prior training.”