Attention all California houseboaters: school is in session! A new law will require all California boaters 20 years old or younger who roam state waterways to carry a boater safety card saying they completed a boater safety education course. The law kicks in on the first of January, 2018. If you’re over 20, you’re not off the hook—more age groups will be added each year following, so that by 2025 all boaters will be required to carry a California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) boater card.
The BoatUS Foundation recently put together a free online Boating Safety Course that’s approved by DBW so you can easily meet the qualifications wherever you’re at. The course doesn’t expire, so if you want to get a jump on your boating safety education, there’s no reason to wait.
“We’ve loaded the course with interactive animations, videos and photos to give boaters an education that goes well beyond the basics of boating,” explained BoatUS Foundation President Chris Edmonston. “The best part of all is that our course is free and can be taken at home. It’s designed so that you can stop and then continue at any time.”
Once you finish the course, you can print your own certificate of completion. California will start issuing their official California Boater Education Cards beginning in 2018 for anyone who completes it this year.
The course and exam is also given the thumbs-up by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and recognized by the US Coast Guard as exceeding the minimum requirements for the National Recreational Boating Safety Program.
And heck, even if you’re not in California, it couldn’t hurt to brush up on your safety tips.