My Profile Previous Search Close

Now you can
go boating!

An easy and convenient way to take your
Official California boating safety course online.

Study at your own pace. Pay only when you pass. DBW-approved course
Unlimited retries. Go boating right away. Only $ 19.95. Ace it!

California Boater Card requirements

Boating License California

Beginning January 1, 2018, the mandatory boating safety education law comes into effect and will be phased in by age. If you operate a motorized vessel on California waterways, you will be required to pass an approved boating safety exam and carry a lifetime California Boater Card issued by the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways.

Take your official California boating safety test online now and your certificate will be accepted with all NASBLA-approved state across the U.S.A.

Boating Safety Course 3 easy steps

Étape 1 - Étudiez à votre rythme

Study at your own pace

  • Pay only when you pass.
  • Complete and easy-to-read study guide.
  • Only $ 19.95 (online course, final test and online certificate included).

Étape 2 - Faites l'examen en ligne

Take the final test online

  • The boating exam consists of 60 multiple choice questions.
  • Open-book final test.
  • Free exam retries - risk free!

Imprimez votre carte

Print your Aceboater Boating Certificate

  • Print your certificate and start boating now!
  • Your certificate is good for life.
  • Request your California Boater Card.

ReviewsOfficial boating safety course

Rated 4.8/5 based on 327 customers reviews
1 days ago
Thanks for the course
1 days ago
great service
1 days ago
i dont want to do this
1 days ago
so far so good.. course was perfect and prepared me very well for my final test. great video...
1 days ago
too long
1 days ago
Great course.
1 days ago
It was easy, although I wish that some of the times on certain lessons were shorter because it was...
1 days ago
This is a great testThis is a great test I'm
2 days ago
great
2 days ago
fun and exciting....study...some questions were not on the revue
2 days ago
was good and Please make it so i dont have to leave a comment
3 days ago
great
3 days ago
Excellent
3 days ago
Some questions need to be reworded
3 days ago
fine
3 days ago
111111
Customer Reviews

Put your knowledge to the test!

Testez vos connaissances

Free Practice Test!

Available on : Accessible sur PC, tablettes et portables

Cours en ligne disponible en tout temps 24 heures sur 24

Online course available 24/7.

Support en ligne par téléphone courriel et clavardage

Online support by phone, email or chat.

Group and Family Discounts

Take advantage of our group discounts for family and friends. Register together and get a discount of up to 30% for the online boating course!

10% discount for 2 persons

20% discount for 3 persons

30% discount for 4 persons

FAQ

What is a California Boater Card?

The California Boater Card is proof that the holder has successfully taken and passed a NASBLA/state-approved boater safety exam. From January 1, 2018, people wishing to operate a motorized vessel on state waters will need to carry the California Boat Card. The California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) issues the card.

Is this course approved for court-ordered boating safety education?

Yes, the course is approved by the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) under the California Harbors and Navigation Code Section 668.3.

What are the age restrictions to operate a motorboat in California?

A person under the age of 16 may not operate a motorboat of more than 15 horsepower unless the boat is a sailboat and does not exceed 30 feet in length - OR - the boat is a dinghy and is operated between a moored boat and shore, or to go between two moored boats. The law does allow anyone aged 12-15 to operate motorboats of more than 15 horsepower, or sailboats over 30 feet, if they supervised by a person on board who is at least 18 years of age.

PWC Operation: A person under the age of 16 may not operate a personal watercraft (PWC) of more than 15 horsepower unless that person is between the ages of 12 and 15, and is directly supervised by a person on board who is at least 18 years of age. Anyone who allows an unsupervised person under the age of 16 to operate is guilty of an offense.

When will boat operators be required to have a California Boater Card?

The new requirement will begin on Jan. 1, 2018 for anyone aged 20 years and younger wishing to operate a motorized vessel on state waterways.

Each year from January 2018 a new age group will be added to those who are required to possess a valid card. From 2025, everyone operating a motorized vessel on California waters will be required to carry the card. Once issued, the card is valid for life.

The 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 old or younger.
  • January 1, 2019: persons 25 years old or younger.
  • January 1, 2020: persons 35 years old or younger.
  • January 1, 2021: persons 40 years old or younger.
  • January 1, 2022: persons 45 years old or younger.
  • January 1, 2023: persons 50 years old or younger.
  • January 1, 2024: persons 60 years old or younger.
  • January 1, 2025 All persons regardless of age.

Who will be exempt from holding a boater card in California?

  • A person operating a rental vessel.
  • A person operating a vessel while under the direct supervision of a person 18 years of age or older who is in possession of a California Boater Card.
  • A person who is a resident of a state other than California who is temporarily operating a vessel in California for less than 60 days and meets the boating requirements, if any, of his/her state.
  • A person who is a resident of a country other than the United States who is temporarily operating a vessel in California for less than 90 days and meets the boating requirements, if any, of his/her country.
  • A person operating a vessel in an organized regatta or vessel race, or water ski race.
  • A person who is in possession of a current commercial fishing license.
  • A person who is in possession of a valid marine operator license, for the waters upon which the licensee is operating, issued by the US Coast Guard, or who is in possession of a valid certificate issued pursuant to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended.
  • A person who has successfully completed a boating course approved by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.

Do I need a California Boater Card if I'm only operating a jet ski/PWC?

Yes, the California Boater Card will be required for everyone wishing to operate a motorized vessel, including jet skis and PWC, on California waters (except those listed in the exemptions).

Is it the Boater Card the same as a boating license?

The California Boater Card is often called a “boating license”. There are currently no boating license requirements for the State of California, however, the California Boater Card will be mandatory for boating from January 1, 2018. Unlike a license, the Boater Card does not expire and does not need to be renewed.

Am I pre-qualified for a Boater Card if I have already taken a boater education course or will take one before 2018?

DBW has determined that it will accept proof of passing a National Association of State Boating Law Administration (NASBLA) and California Division of Boating and Waterways-approved boater education course taken between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2017. Anyone who has passed an approved examination during this timeframe will have 1 year from the effective January 1, 2018 implementation date to apply for their California Boater Card to receive the “grandfathering” exemption regardless of their age. Older courses may not include recent state or national changes to navigation law.

Do I need a driver's license to operate a motorized boat?

No. You are currently encouraged to obtain a Boater Safety Education Card and from 2018 you will need a California Boater Card.

What safety equipment do I need to carry with me?

You must carry life jackets/PFDs and a sound signalling device on all vessels. Depending on the type and length of the vessel and where and when you are boating you may need other equipment, including visual distress signals, navigation lights, a fire extinguisher etc. See the Equipment page for the full list of requirements.

What are the benefits of taking a boating safety course?

Not only is mandatory education the law, the California Boater Card Program promotes boating safety on our waterways. U. S. Coast Guard accident data show that states with some form of boating safety education have fewer accidents and fatalities than states without any boater education requirements. In 2015, 724 Californian recreational vessels were involved in reported accidents and 49 boaters died. More than 232 boaters were injured needing treatment beyond first aid. Only one of the boat operators involved in fatal accidents had taken an approved boating safety course. Increased numbers of boaters taking approved safety courses will benefit all recreational boaters in California.

How much time will it take to complete an approved boating safety course including the exam?

You must spend a minimum of three (3) hours studying the boating safety course, but you can take more time if you wish. You will then have as long as you need to complete the final exam.

Will my California Boater Card be valid in other states?

Yes! All states with NASBLA-approved boater education requirements will accept the California Boater Card.

Do I need to wear a life jacket when I'm operating a motorboat?

Normally you do not need to wear a life jacket in a motorboat but you must make sure there is one US Coast Guard-approved life jacket readily available per person on board. Inflatable life jackets must be worn to count towards this required. If you are operating a personal watercraft you must wear a lifejacket.

Why should I choose ACEBOATER.com?

Because:

  • We have hundreds of illustrations that will help you to better understand the content.
  • Our online course is available 24/7.
  • You can access our online support by phone, email or chat.
  • We offer multi-platform training.
  • Our policy has always been, "Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back"!

California State Parks Boating and Waterways

United States Coast Guard

NASBLA - National Association of State Boating Law Administrator

The easiest way to ace your online boating safety course!

Satisfacetion guaranteed or money back