Photo: Tony Tribolet

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California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) is now accepting applications for the California Boater Card. The card verifies that its holder has successfully taken and passed an approved boater safety education course. Once issued, the California Boater Card remains valid for an operator’s lifetime.

On Sept. 18, 2014, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. signed into law Senate Bill 941, which prohibits the operation of motorized vessels in California without a valid boater card developed and issued by DBW. The new mandatory boating safety education law will go into effect Jan. 1, 2018. The law will be phased in by age. The first group required to take the exam are boaters 20 years of age and younger. Each year after January 2018, a new age group will be added to those who are required to possess a valid card. By 2025, all persons who operate a motorized vessel on California waters will be required to have one. The cost of the lifetime card is $10, and all the money goes toward developing and operating the program. By law, DBW cannot profit from the program.

Boaters have an option to apply before or after taking an approved boating safety course. For more information on the new mandatory boating safety education law, including a current list of approved California boating courses and exemptions to the law, visit www.californiaboatercard.com. A toll free telephone support line is also available at 844.421.8333.

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