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Get Your Official California Boater Card Online

California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways logo
NASBLA logo
US Coast Guard logo

Take this California–approved online boating course to complete your boaters safety education. Boat-ed.com is a delegated provider for the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways.

Lifetime Card

Do you need the boater Boater Card?

As of January 1, 2023, all boaters 50 years of age or younger will be required to carry the Boater Card. All boaters regardless of age will be required to obtain the card by 2025.

California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways logo
NASBLA logo
US Coast Guard logo

How to Get your Boating Certificate in 4 Easy Steps

Step 1

Boat step 1

est. 2–3 mins

Sign Up

Getting started is easy, simply sign up for a Boat Ed student account, pay for the official, state-approved course, and visit your student dashboard.

Step 2

Step 2 image

est. 3–4 hrs

Study & Pass at Your Own Pace

Take the course on any desktop, tablet or mobile device, and don't worry about completing everything in one sitting. We save your progress after each lesson!

Step 3

Boat step 3

est. 30–60 mins

Complete Additional State Requirements

As a final step, a state-required component is needed to obtain certification.

Step 4

Boat step 4

est. 0 mins

Get on the Water!

That's it! You're ready to confidently and legally drive a boat. Also you'll now have access to exclusive offers on additional courses and products!

Do you need a Boater Card in California?

As of January 1, 2023, California law requires all boaters 50 years of age or younger to carry the Boater Card.

California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways Requirements

There is no minimum age requirement to take this online course.

You do not have to be a resident of California to take this online course.

What to Expect From the Boaters Safety Course

Live‐Action, High‐Definition Videos

Our course videos feature a combination of professional educators (who double as professional actors), entertaining storylines, and up‐to‐date scenarios that give you one of the most effective ways to learn safe boating practices.

Watch this 54-second sample to see how we put you in the driver’s seat.

Comprehensive Instruction in California boaters Safety Course

This official training program is developed to meet the standards for Boating safety education established by California. Boat Ed is the only safety course provider that develops print materials on behalf of government agencies responsible for Boating laws and regulations.

Pages from a boat handbook

Learn Your Way on Any Device

Boat Ed offers online courses that are fully mobile-friendly from start to finish. This safety course is designed to work on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.

Boat course displayed on various devices
Course outline displaying progress

Saved Progress

You may complete the course at your own pace. The course can be completed in one sitting or a little at a time over several days. Log in and out at any time, and we'll keep track of your progress. Most students finish the course in a few hours.

California Approved

California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways
1 Capitol Mall, Suite 500 Sacramento, CA 95814

Made in the U.S.A.

This safety course is proudly made to serve students, agencies, and organizations worldwide.

Is it the Boating safety license?

The boater education certificate in California is often called a “boating license.” While the certificate is often called a California boating license, the certification does not expire and does not need to be renewed.

Do you need a Boating license to drive a boat in California?

California boating law requires boaters to obtain and carry a California Boater Card (CBC) while operating a recreational motorized vessel on California waterways. This card is often called the ‘California boating license’. The CBC requirement will be phased in over 8 years.

  • January 1, 2018: Persons 20 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2019: Persons 25 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2020: Persons 35 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2021: Persons 40 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2022: Persons 45 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2023: Persons 50 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2024: Persons 60 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2025: All persons regardless of age
Get Certified
California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways logo

In California you need a boater education certificate (AKA boating license) to operate a personal watercraft (PWC) if you're under age 35. Even if you're over 35, it's still recommended that you take a boater education course to learn safe practices for operating a PWC.

Some tips for jet skiing in California include:

  1. Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard–approved life jacket.
  2. Know the weather forecast and remember that the weather can sometimes change quickly.
  3. Be aware of other vessels and people in the water.
  4. Maintain a safe distance from other PWCs, boats, and obstacles in the water.
  5. Don’t attempt risky maneuvers such as jumping wakes or riding too close to other vessels.
  6. Follow all posted signs and obey the speed limits and wake zone restrictions.
  7. Avoid drinking alcohol or using drugs while operating a PWC – impaired driving laws apply to all watercrafts.

By following these guidelines and taking a boater education course, you can enjoy your PWC experience in California safely and legally. For additional PWC requirements, check out our additional resources.

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California Boating FAQs

Price and Payment

How much does the California Boat Ed Course cost?

The California Boat Ed Course fee is $39.95.

Taking the Course

Are there any age or operator restrictions for boating in California?

Do I have to complete the course all at once?

You may complete the course at your own pace. The course can be completed in one sitting or completed a little at a time over several days. All pay-up-front courses are available for 90 days from time of registration and payment.

What is the minimum age to take this online course?

There is no minimum age requirement to take this online course.

Do I have to be a resident to take the California Boat Ed Course?

You do not have to be a resident of California to take this online course.

Course Approval and Acceptance

Is the California Boat Ed Course approved by the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways?

The California Boat Ed Course is approved and accepted by the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways.

Is my California Boater Card accepted elsewhere?

For visiting boaters, all states, territories, and provinces will recognize boating education cards that meet NASBLA requirements and Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator Cards that meet Transport Canada’s requirements. (This is known as “reciprocity.”)

Quizzes and/or Exams

I failed a unit quiz. Have I failed the course?

If you fail a unit quiz, you must restudy the unit and take the quiz again until you pass. You must score at least 70% on the unit quizzes to pass.

Do I have to take an online exam?

The Certification Exam is the exam you take at the end of the online course. You must score at least 80% on the exam to pass. You have unlimited attempts to pass the exam. If you don’t complete the exam in one session, don’t worry. When you log in later, you will be taken to the first unanswered question of the exam.

About Your Certification

What is the proof of online California Boat Ed Course completion?

Once you pay for and pass the online course, you will be able to immediately print out the Certificate of Completion. This is your proof of online course completion. You can print the Certificate of Completion right then and/or request that a PDF be emailed to you.

What is the permanent California Boater Card?

The California Boater Card is proof that you have successfully completed all of the components of an approved Boating safety course and allows you to go boating. Because the California Boater Card does not expire and does not need to be renewed, it is not called the California Boating License.

Replacement of Lost or Damaged Documents

How do I replace my Boater Card if I’ve lost it or it has been damaged?

To replace a lost or damaged Boater Card, please visit the California Boater Card website. The cost of a replacement card will be $5.

We’re people, not robots.

Visit our Boat Ed help center for frequently asked questions, troubleshooting, or for further customer support!

Boat Ed Help Center

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