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  • Get Licensed In 3 Hours (Average)
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Lifetime Course Access

  • State Approved
  • Get Licensed In 3 Hours (Average)
  • Live In-Course Chat Support
  • Phone Support
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
  • Animated, Narrated & Perfect For All Ages
  • Unlimited Test Retries
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$29.95

90 Day Course Access

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  • Get Licensed In 3 Hours (Average)
  • Phone Support
  • Unlimited Test Retries

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Buy More, Save More

Purchase more than one boating course, test and card and save up to 40%. Perfect for family, friends and workmates, we include everything your crew needs to get their Official California Boater Card.

Buy For One

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“There’s nothing better than leaving the work week in our wake.”

– Jesse L, Monteray CA –

BOATsmart! courseware on a tablet.

Watch, Listen & Learn

From anywhere, on any device at any time.

Our animated and narrated Boating Safety Course is perfect for all ages. Study from your Smartphone, Tablet or Desktop and switch between devices at any time. BOATsmart! automatically tracks your progress so you can study at your own pace.

BOATsmart! multiple choice practice test

Pass the official test

Take the California Boater Card Test online

Take the official California Boater Card test online. Consisting of 60 multiple-choice questions, the final test is open book. BOATsmart! includes free unlimited retries so you’re guaranteed to pass.

California Boater Card.

Get Your Official Boater Education Card

Print your Certificate of Completion immediately

Print your Certificate of Completion immediately after passing the final test. Your Certificate of Completion enables you to obtain your official California Boater Card from California State Parks, Division of Boating and Waterways. Once obtained your Boater Card is good for life.

Boating In California

YOU’RE IN THE
CAPTAIN’S SEAT

The BOATsmart! course on a laptop The BOATsmart! course on a laptop

FREE BOATING LICENSE PRACTICE TEST

Not sure what to expect? Try the Boating License Practice Test for free and test your knowledge.
Try the California boating safety practice test now.

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California Boater Card.

CALIFORNIA BOATER CARD
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is a California Boater Card?

The California Boater Card is proof that a boater has successfully passed the California Boating Safety Test. Beginning on Jan 1, 2018, the state of California began phasing in a law that requires boaters to obtain and carry a boater card. The law is being phased in over 8 years.

Is the California Boater Card the same as a Boating License?

A California Boater Card is official proof that you have successfully completed a California state-approved boating safety course. Boaters commonly refer to the Boater Card as a California boating license however, this is incorrect. Unlike a license, a Boater Card does not expire and doesn’t need to be renewed.

Who needs a California Boater Card?

Beginning on Jan 1, 2018 the requirement to obtain a California Boater Card took effect and is being phased in over an 8 year period. Each year a new age group is included, and depending on your age, you may currently need a Boater Card. In 2020, all boaters 35 years of age and younger require a Boater Card. By 2025 all boaters in California will require a Card.

Who is exempt from having to obtain a California Boater Card?

  • Any person operating a vessel while under the direct supervision of a person 18 years of age or older who is in possession of a California Boater Card.
  • Any person operating a rental vessel.
  • Any person operating a vessel in an organized regatta or vessel race, or water ski race.
  • A person who is in possession of a current commercial fishing license.
  • A person who is in possession of a valid marine operator license, for the waters upon which the licensee is operating, issued by the US Coast Guard, or who is in possession of a valid certificate issued pursuant to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended.
  • A person who has successfully completed a boating course approved by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.
  • A person who is a resident of a state other than California who is temporarily operating a vessel in California for less than 60 days and meets the boating requirements, if any, of his/her state.
  • A person who is a resident of a country other than the United States who is temporarily operating a vessel in California for less than 90 days and meets the boating requirements, if any, of his/her country.

What is the fine for not having the Card?

Boaters caught without a Boater Card may receive a fine of up to $100 for the first conviction, $250 for the second conviction and $500 for the third.

How do I get a California Boater Card?

You can obtain your official Boater Card from BOATsmart! in three steps: 1. Take the BOATsmart! California Boating Safety Course online. 2. Pass the California Boating Safety Test online. 3. Print a Certification of Completion immediately.

How do I prepare for the California Boater Safety Test?

Boaters can prepare for the official California Boating Safety Test with the BOATsmart! Course which includes animated, narrated and illustrated lessons designed for all ages. The 3-hour California Boating Safety Course is approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways and is recognized by the US Coast Guard. The BOATsmart! California Boating Safety Course includes all the knowledge you need in order to obtain your California Boater Card.

Will my California Boater Card ever expire?

No. Your California Boater Card will be good for life. But don’t be a stranger – BOATsmart! offers free refresher lessons that will help you keep your boating knowledge up to date! California’s boating laws may change over time. Make sure you’re in the know.

How do I replace my Boater Card?

You can easily purchase a replacement California Boater Card from the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways. The state of California charges a standard fee of $5.00 per replacement card.

Do I need a Driver’s License to operate a boat in California?

No. The state of California does not require boaters to have a driver’s license in order to operate a boat. However, as of January 1st, 2020 a California Boater Card will be required for anyone under the age of 35, with everyone requiring a California Boater Card by 2025.

Do I need a Boater Card for all types of boats?

Depending on your age, the California Boater Card will be required for all operators of any motorized vessel, including Personal Watercraft (PWCs) and Jet Skis, when operating on California waterways.

How long does the California Boater Course take?

The state of California requires that you spend a minimum of 3 hours studying the online course. The purchase of your BOATsmart! California Boating Safety Course includes unlimited lifetime access.

Is my California Boater Card valid in other states?

Yes. The California Boater Card is accepted in 40 states, which extend reciprocity. This means the BOATsmart! Course meets the National Standards established by NASBLA. This law applies to operators of motorized boats, but not in all states to operators of personal watercraft (PWCs). Always check the boating laws in the state you plan to visit prior to operating a boat or PWC there.

Who is BOATsmart!?

BOATsmart!® is North America’s Boating Educator, approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and recognized by the US Coast Guard. We’ve been delivering award winning online boating courses since 2003 and have certified more than 650,000 boaters. BOATsmart! is accredited and approved by the California State Parks, Division of Boating & Waterways, to deliver the official California Boater Card Course and Boating Safety Test.

Learn more about California Boating Regulations, Fines and boating destinations.

California State Parks Boating and Waterways logo

California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways

1 Capitol Mall, Suite 500

Sacramento, California 95814
https://dbw.parks.ca.gov/

Trusted from coast-to-coast, California approved

The official BOATsmart! California Boating Safety Course is approved by the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and recognized by the US Coast Guard.

BOATsmart! has provided online boating safety education across North America since 2013. Our courses are designed and developed by real boaters, subject matter experts and instructional design educators. We’ve certified more than 650,000 boaters online and are proud to be the choice of boaters from coast-to-coast.

NASBLA logo.
US Coast Guard logo.