Who needs the Boater Education Card?

As of January 1, 2018, California law requires all boaters to carry the California Boater Card. This law will be phased in over eight years.

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.

You Must Carry the Card

Vessel operators who are required to have the California Boater Card must carry the card on board the vessel and have it available for inspection by an enforcement officer. Not carrying your California Boater Card when it is required can result in a fine.


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.”)

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

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 Boating Education Card or certificate does not expire and does not need to be renewed, it is not called the California Boating License.

I do not have a driver’s license. Can I still get the California Boater Card?

Yes. You are not required to have a state driver’s license in order to obtain a Boater Education Card.

Other Questions

For these and other questions about your boating card, please check our FAQs.

How do I get a card?

How do I get a replacement card?

Need help? Here are the answers to the questions California Boating students most frequently ask.

California Frequently Asked Questions