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Do I need a license to operate a power boat in California?

Depending on your age, you need a California Boater Card to operate a power boat in California.

The mandatory boating safety education law went into effect on January 1, 2018 and the Boater Card requirement is being phased in by age. By 2025 all operators of motorized vessels will need a California Boater Card.

  • January 1, 2018: Anyone 20 years old or younger must have a Card.
  • January 1, 2019: 25 years old or younger.
  • January 1, 2020: 35 years old or younger.
  • January 1, 2021: 40 years old or younger.
  • January 1, 2022: 45 years old or younger.
  • January 1, 2023: 50 years old or younger.
  • January 1, 2024: 60 years old or younger.
  • January 1, 2025 All persons regardless of age.

California Boating License