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Course Outline

Every peace officer of the state, city, county, harbor district, or other political subdivision of the state is empowered to enforce California boating law. In California, most recreational boating law enforcement is done by county sheriff's officers, police officers, park rangers, and other land use agencies.

  • Any vessel approaching or being approached by an enforcement vessel operating with a siren or illuminated blue light must immediately slow to a speed sufficient to maintain steerage only and alter course so as not to interfere with the operation of the law enforcement vessel.
  • Every vessel underway and lawfully ordered to stop by an officer must stop immediately and permit the enforcement vessel to come alongside.
  • Enforcement officers have the authority to board any vessel where the officer has probable cause to believe that a violation of the law exists.
  • Officers are also authorized to order the operator of an unsafe vessel to shore.

False Search and Rescue Calls

Any individual who reports to a state or local agency that an emergency exists knowing that the report is false is guilty of a misdemeanor, and in some cases, a felony.

Law Enforcement Vessel

All authorized California peace officers and USCG officers have the right to stop and board vessels in order to check for compliance with federal and state laws.

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