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California Boating Card

Posted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 6:33 pm
by oldersalt
Starting in 2018, California is requiring all boaters to pass an online safety course and have their boating card with them if boarded. Although I am not required to get one for a few years (it's being phased in by your age over several years), I decided to go for it, mostly out of curiosity.

It's all online. Course is $29. The course is very long and you are not allowed to skip it and go directly to the test. Each page is timed, so you have to either actually read it, or sit for a while before going to the next page. Whole thing took me a few hours over several days. It is quite complete, covering rules of the road, safety, legal issues, navigation fundamentals, lights and sound signals, basic operation and safety of small motorboats, personal watercraft (these are emphasized a lot, of obvious reasons), sailboats, even kayaks and canoes. There are several sample quizzes along the way. All in all, I have to say it is pretty well done and very complete. The test turned out to be shorter and easier than I expected, and I passed on the first try, having missed a few questions on the size, color, and/or shape of some obscure marker buoys. They send you an electronic certificate which you then submit (with another $10) to get the actual card.

Eventually, hopefully, making every boater get this card may reduce or minimize the worst mistakes by idiots that we have all seen out on the water. At least I hope so....

So, Cal boaters, go for it and try to enjoy the experience!

Fair Winds,

"Everything on your boat is broken. You just don't know it yet."

Posted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:38 pm
by grich737
WA started this a few years back and it sounds like you had a good experience with the test and its objective. I on the other hand thought it a waste of time as the test I took for Washington was more about personal watercraft than anything else. I don't even remember them asking anything about navigation or rules of the road. At least I have the card but then again so does everyone else, Washington's test was a joke.

Posted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:36 pm
by dstong
Just an do not need to take any course or pay any money. Online, the state will send you a book and the test with a return envelope. I received it, completed the test and sent it back. I was notified that I had past and was sent a temporary CA Boaters Card, the actual card to follow within 60 days, I believe.

I am also more seasoned and not required to have the card for many years, but thought why not just do it. The test is regrettably overly simple - I suspect a non-boater with little to no experience could pass, or at least come close.


Posted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:38 pm
by dstong
Ooops...passed. Should have had wife proof read!