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Do you need a boating license in California

In January new regulations went into place in California requiring boaters to get licenses.

The California Boater Card program requires boat operators to take a state-approved boating safety course, either online or in a classroom, and pass a test in order to secure a lifetime license.

The program is being phased in by age groups. As of Jan. 1, 2018, people 20 years old or younger must possess a card.

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

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