Boating License

Boatsmart California new law changes boater card

Do I need a license to drive a boat in California?

If you operate any motorized vessel on California waterways (including powered sailboats, paddle-craft, and even undocumented vessels), you need to know about these changes. Starting on January 1st, the state is phasing in mandatory boater education based on operator age. Almost all boaters in California will be required to carry a boating license. In 2018, the mandatory education law will only apply to boaters in California aged 20 and under, but soon it will apply to everyone. Here is the full list of dates by which boating licenses will be required for every age:

○ Everyone 20 years old and under – Jan 1, 2018
○ Everyone 25 years old and under – Jan 1, 2019
○ Everyone 35 years old and under – Jan 1, 2020
○ Everyone 40 years old and under – Jan 1, 2021
○ Everyone 45 years old and under – Jan 1, 2022
○ Everyone 50 years old and under – Jan 1, 2023
○ Everyone 60 years old and under – Jan 1, 2024
○ Everyone, regardless of age – Jan 1, 2025

Get your California Boater Card today and be prepared for the changes!

Can I get a boater card if I’m under 16?

Everyone operating a motorized vessel on California waterways under 16 still requires the boater card, but there are additional restrictions to their boating. If they are supervised on board by someone 18 or older, children aged 12-15 can legally operate a boat with a motor over 15 horsepower. There are no age restrictions to operate a sailboat 30 feet long or less, a dinghy used between a moored boat and the shore, or a dinghy used between two moored boats.

What if I already have a boating license?

If you have proof you passed a NASBLA– and DBW-approved course between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2017, you have until December 31, 2018 to upload your certificate and apply for your California Boater Card to receive an exemption.

Are there any other exceptions?

Yes. If you are operating a rental vessel or you are being supervised by someone 18 or older with a California Boater Card, you do not require your own boater card. As a visitor, if you meet the requirements for boating in your home state, you can legally operate a vessel in California for less than 60 days (or 90 days if you are from another country). For example, if you’re from Florida, you can boat for up to 60 days in California if you have your Florida boating license, or if you’re from Canada, you can boat for up to 90 days with your Pleasure Craft Operator Card. You are also exempt if you possess a current commercial fishing license, a valid marine operator license for those waters, and a few other very specific exceptions.

Be prepared!

Without a California Boater Card, you could be charged a fine of $100 to $500 for operating a motorized vessel on California waterways. Once you’ve obtained the California Boater Card, it will be good for life. It will also keep you legal when boating in other states, and you’ll save money on your boat insurance. You should also know the best places in California to go boating once you’re licensed. Get a Boater Card now and be ready for the new California boating laws!


Vivid Seats & BOATsmart! choose the best concerts from coast-to-coast! 

Boating and music go together like sunny days and good times. If you’re anything like us, you love cruising along or dropping an anchor with your favourite jams in the background when you’re out on the boat with friends and family! Just make sure you grab the essentials: your lifejackets, boating license, sunscreen and boating playlist! It creates a great vibe, sets the mood and gives your awesome boating experience a soundtrack you can rock out to.


We’ve got some great news if boating and good music are your top two favorite things! Some of the best country artists (who love to sing about how much they love boating) are touring this year, and they are going to be on or near some popular waterways! The worlds of music and boating collide in the song lyrics of these musicians (ahem, Jimmy Buffet…) so why not go for the epic experience and try to find a concert you may be able to watch from the deck of your boat!?


Staying warm and boating down south this fall?


Jimmy Buffet & the Coral Reefer Band know how to rock an oceanside audience and they love celebrating that it’s always “5 o’clock somewhere”! So grab your sunscreen, straw hat and best buds and order those beachy tickets!



The undeniably classic Lynyrd Skynyrd band is on tour right now and crowds are rocking out to their classic Southern rock hits like “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird.” This band’s been together since 1964 – so you could say that they’ve had some practice and may know a thing or two about entertaining an audience!


Boating up north and watching the leaves turn red?


More of a northern rocker? Don’t miss your chance to see Detroit music icon Kid Rock’s tour! His classic hits like ‘All Summer Long’ will give you those good time, summer vibes all year long!



Straight out of the windy city, these rockers changed the landscape of mainstream pop music by fusing classic jazz instruments with the sounds of modern rock! Perfect lid-back cruising tunes for the boat!


Coast-to-coast tours we’re stoked about!


The very talented, very charming Luke Bryan will be touring all over this fall. You can pretty much catch him from anywhere and his tunes will get your crew movin’, shakin’ and boot stompin’!




There isn’t a wakeboarder out there who doesn’t have “Pour Some Sugar on Me” on their boating playlist, chillin-on-the-dock soundtrack, or campfire party tunes! Don’t miss out on seeing one of the world’s best-selling music artists of all time live this year!



All right, honestly, who DOESN’T want to see Eric Church doing his thang? Every song he releases is better than the last and he couldn’t be hotter right now! His songs make you feel like you’ve just dropped an anchor on the Mississippi river, and you’re chilling out with a guitar, a fishing pole, good company, and a cold ‘drink in your hand’.


Fun, safe boating – it’s easy.

wallet buoy & float holding boating license

Make sure you stay safe out there boaters! Have fun rocking out to your favourite boating soundtracks, but remember to get your official Boating License to be a responsible Captain and be legal on the water (Oh, head’s up travellers: in some states you’re required to have a Boater Education Card!) and always make sure your Captain is sober behind the wheel. Water on the water, beer on the pier! It’s all about enjoying worry-free time out there and being able to kick back, knowing that you and your passengers are safe on the water!

Enjoy the show, the boating experience, and the feeling of the wind in your hair as you crank your boating playlist on the water!





Posted By
September 23, 2016

#Categories: Uncategorized