The Boater Card (also called a boat license) requirements are being phased in over a period of 8 years. DBW will issue the cards to persons who provide proof that an approved vessel operator examination has been passed since January 1, 2015. You need to get a California Boater Card. January 1, 2018: Anyone 20 years old or younger must have a Card. Take note: beginning January 1, 2018, boaters 20 years of age and younger are the first age group that must carry a California Boater Card when on state waterways. The California Boater Card program is … 2020: 35 or younger. The New California Boating Law – For Recreational Boats. Mandatory Boater Education: On January 1, 2018, California began implementing its new seven-year phase-in of the mandatory boater safety education law for boaters who operate a motorized vessel on California waterways. 2018: Age 20 or younger. California Boater Card Apply Now! Once issued by the Division of Boating and Waterways, the California Boater Card remains valid for a boat operator’s lifetime. Age and Operator Restrictions. The card. 2021: 40 or younger. 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. Operators of motorized vessels in California need a California Boater Card, if they are 35 years of age or younger. By January 1st, 2025, all boat operators in California will be required to get certified, no matter their age. CA Boating License Requirement . The California Boater Card is proof that the holder has successfully taken and passed a NASBLA/state-approved boater safety exam. 2022: 45 or younger This requirement is being phased in by age and by 2025 everyone will need a California Boater Card, regardless of age. Every boater and personal watercraft driver will need a California Boater Card before they hit the waterways in 2025. Maybe this explanation regarding California’s new Boater Card as it pertains to Arizona boaters will be helpful. Safety Equipment. California Boater Card Requirements Timeline. California law requires a person to be 16 years of age or older and in possession of his/her California Boater Card to legally operate a vessel powered by a motor of 15 hp or more, including personal watercraft (PWCs).. The program is being phased in by age to give boaters ample time to obtain their card. As of January 1, 2018, everyone under 21 who wishes to operate a motorized vessel on California waterways needs a California Boater Card. 2019: 25 or younger. 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