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Course CatalogCA Boating Safety Course - California

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As of January 1, 2018, the California mandatory boating safety education law goes into effect and will be phased in by age. If you operate a vessel equipped with a motor on California waterways, you will be required to pass an approved boating safety exam and carry a lifetime California Boater Card. DBW will issue the cards to persons who provide proof that an approved vessel operator examination has been passed since January 1, 2018. Phase-in schedule and approved courses like this one may be found online at


To obtain your official California Boater Card, follow these steps:

  1. Apply for California Boater ID on the California website
  2. Come to BoatUS Foundation and register for California course, enter your California Boater ID on the registration page
  3. Complete the course (you will receive a temporary certificate of completion when you pass the course)
  4. WE will send your Application ID to California for verification
  5. You will receive a confirmation email from the state of California when your application is accepted and your card will arrive in the mail within 60 days

Please note that the course servers reboot every day at 4:30AM Eastern Time (1:30AM Pacific) and during this time you may experience slow server response or errors.  

You must PASS all seven lessons before November 18, 2019 in order to receive your certificate of completion. At that time, all incomplete courses will be deleted in order to move to a new system. All certificates of completion will transfer, but course data will not.


This Boating Safety Course for California boaters covers everything from Navigation Aids and Emergency Situations to Rules of the Road and Required Equipment. Each of the first six  chapters includes a quiz at the end for you to test your knowledge.

After reviewing all chapters, you will take a 75 question final exam including 10 questions specific to the boating laws in California. Pass the exam with a score of 80% or better and you will then be able to print your certificate of completion.

Use the worksheets below as a guide to help you take notes as you go through each of the lessons. These worksheets are only meant as a guide and do not replace the course content or quizzes themselves.


  1. Boats and the Marine Environment
  2. Boating Equipment
  3. Trip Planning and Preparation
  4. Safe Boat Operation
  5. Emergency Preparation
  6. Boating Activities
  7. Final Exam


  1. California
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