A law being rolled out over the next few years requires California residents to have a boater card, starting now for younger boaters, and increasing in age until 2025 when everybody will need one.
The law went into effect on January 1st, 2018, requiring boaters under the age of 20 to pass an approved boating safety examination, get the card – which does not expire – and carry it. Next January the age will increase to 25, then 35 by 2020, 40 by 2021, 45 by 2022, 50 by 2023, 60 by 2024 and including all people by 2025.
The card will be required by California residents only, regardless of where their watercraft is registered, meaning that the key requirement is based on residency.
According to the state of California, in 2016 more than 800 California recreational vessels were involved in reported accidents, resulting in 50 deaths. More than 266 were injured in severity beyond first aid treatment. Former Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. signed the mandatory education course into law in 2014.
DISCUSSION: California's new 'boater card' law and who needs one
Posted by Parker Live Updates on Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Sound begins at 8:20
The Parker Strip
The western half of the Colorado River is in California and the eastern half is in Arizona, which means that boaters are regularly entering and exiting each state as they travel along the Parker Strip. Law enforcement officers from either state have the authority to enforce mutual laws all the way across the river, but generally, only California law enforcement officers can be expected to enforce the boater card law, and only on the western side of the river.
A provision of the new law says that residents of another state, like Arizona, may operate their vessel on California waterways for “less than 60 days”, which would allow Arizona residents to launch their boats on the Parker Strip and travel in and out of the California side of the river as long as their boat was not on that side of the river for longer than 60 days.
Conversely, California residents will be able to use their boat on the Arizona side of the river without a boater card only if they stay on the eastern portion of the river. Practically, this means a boater card will be required, as normal use of the Parker Strip requires being in both states.
For more information on the new law, go to CaliforniaBoaterCard.com. A lifetime card will cost $10.