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Old 12-21-2017, 06:28 PM   #1
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California Boating Card

Starting in 2018, California is requiring all boaters to pass an online safety course and have their boating card with them if boarded. Although I am not required to get one for a few years (it's being phased in by your age over several years), I decided to go for it, mostly out of curiosity.

It's all online. Course is $29. The course is very long and you are not allowed to skip it and go directly to the test. Each page is timed, so you have to either actually read it, or sit for a while before going to the next page. Whole thing took me a few hours over several days. It is quite complete, covering rules of the road, safety, legal issues, navigation fundamentals, lights and sound signals, basic operation and safety of small motorboats, personal watercraft (these are emphasized a lot, of obvious reasons), sailboats, even kayaks and canoes. There are several sample quizzes along the way. All in all, I have to say it is pretty well done and very complete. The test turned out to be shorter and easier than I expected, and I passed on the first try, having missed a few questions on the size, color, and/or shape of some obscure marker buoys. They send you an electronic certificate which you then submit (with another $10) to get the actual card.

Eventually, hopefully, making every boater get this card may reduce or minimize the worst mistakes by idiots that we have all seen out on the water. At least I hope so....

So, Cal boaters, go for it and try to enjoy the experience!

Fair Winds,
Oldersalt

"Everything on your boat is broken. You just don't know it yet."
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Old 12-21-2017, 06:37 PM   #2
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Took the online boat safety course from Boat US, FREE for members.
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Old 12-21-2017, 06:41 PM   #3
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Looks very similar to what we have up here.

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Old 12-21-2017, 06:59 PM   #4
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That great news, and great progress towards a more educated boating community in CA.
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Old 12-21-2017, 07:47 PM   #5
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I'm glad to see CA join the many states that now require a boater safety card. Taking the class (online or in person) and having the card won't stop all boating accidents and boating injuries/fatalities, but it's a big help.


USCG stats show that the vast majority of boaters who are involved in accidents do not have a boater safety card.
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Old 12-21-2017, 08:04 PM   #6
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if you sit for a proctored test and the course is NASBLA approved, it usually is. accepted in any state requiring certification.

doesnt sound like this one will... but maybe the rules changes since I stopped teaching....
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Old 12-21-2017, 08:10 PM   #7
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Yeah, and as the accident rates drop (?) so will our insurance rates.
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Old 12-21-2017, 08:21 PM   #8
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Agree, this is a great first step to increase boater skills and prevent acccidents. I plan on taking it soon.

I took the Boat US course awhile back and it was good, but fairly basic. Sounds like this CA test is more comprehensive.
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Old 12-21-2017, 09:48 PM   #9
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If not already, every state will have the boater card. Some let you challenge the test. While it's a good start, most the small boaters seem to forget everything presented as soon as they get their card. Like no wake zones, when children are required to have on life jackets, etc.
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Old 12-21-2017, 09:54 PM   #10
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Agree, this is a great first step to increase boater skills and prevent acccidents. I plan on taking it soon.

I took the Boat US course awhile back and it was good, but fairly basic. Sounds like this CA test is more comprehensive.
I agree. Very similar to the WA state boater education law but it sounds as if the course is more comprehensive. I read the WA boater handbook, and then took the online test. It was pretty basic. It sounds as if the CA course is more comprehensive which sounds like a good idea to me.

I am sure we will see complaints from those that say it won't do enough to improve boating safety. ie if it ain't perfect, don't bother.
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Old 12-21-2017, 10:05 PM   #11
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What do you do if you are an Oregonian and want to boat in the Columbia River, since its the border between Washington and Oregon ? Do you have to stay in the OR half of the river, or are you excempted from the WA requirement since you're not a resident ??
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Old 12-21-2017, 10:13 PM   #12
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What do you do if you are an Oregonian and want to boat in the Columbia River, since its the border between Washington and Oregon ? Do you have to stay in the OR half of the river, or are you excempted from the WA requirement since you're not a resident ??
I can't vouch for this particular case, but in general states recognizes and accept whatever your state of residency requires, including when nothing is required.
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Old 12-21-2017, 10:13 PM   #13
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Yeah, and as the accident rates drop (?) so will our insurance rates.
Hopefully that's not the only thing that matters to you.
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Old 12-21-2017, 10:28 PM   #14
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CT will not accept an online course for its boating card. You must take a live course and a proctored exam.
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Old 12-21-2017, 10:29 PM   #15
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I also took the Washington State course thru Boat US, free of charge. In Washington you do not need to have the card if you were born before 1955 so I was exempt, but took the course any way. It was a good refresher.

By the way, in Canada they have this same safety course requirement for their citizens and visiting boaters. They will accept your state certificate, but if you don't have one, you are probably breaking their law. On my last trip north I was boarded twice by the RCMP to check my customs clearance. They could have just as easily asked to see my boaters safety card, but did not.
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Old 12-21-2017, 10:35 PM   #16
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Took the online boat safety course from Boat US, FREE for members.
I took the Boat US test back in 2010 & was told that California accepted it.
Can anyone confirm that?
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Old 12-22-2017, 06:07 AM   #17
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CT will not accept an online course for its boating card. You must take a live course and a proctored exam.
is that if you are a CT resident, or a transient from another state?
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Old 12-22-2017, 10:14 AM   #18
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What do you do if you are an Oregonian and want to boat in the Columbia River, since its the border between Washington and Oregon ? Do you have to stay in the OR half of the river, or are you excempted from the WA requirement since you're not a resident ??
I have been wondering same thing. A little Google-fu found this report.

https://www.slideshare.net/mobile/IB...fety-education

Page 15, slide is a graphic showing reciprocity, data date 2014, but I doubt much has changed. And this is a survey, so it's factual basis needs some more R & D.

I've done a couple of the on line courses, I think it's a good start.

Most of the "violations" I see are dingy drivers and jet skis, with a heaping helping of iPodding/ear-budded SUP operators who have no clue about water-borne space-time.
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Old 12-22-2017, 10:15 AM   #19
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I am glad to see safety courses being required but I don't agree with the phase in plan. This leaves a lot of boaters who will never have to take the class and pass the test. I would rather see a deadline for all boaters to have a safe boating card.

I would also like to see the boating laws unified from state to state, much like most auto laws. For example, in one state it's an automatic no wake zone within 50' of a dock and in the next state it's within 150' of a dock. Boats travel from state to state just like cars and trucks.

My wife and I took the Power Squadron one day course and have our cards. I assume they are valid in every state.
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Old 12-22-2017, 10:28 AM   #20
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By the way, in Canada they have this same safety course requirement for their citizens and visiting boaters. They will accept your state certificate, but if you don't have one, you are probably breaking their law. On my last trip north I was boarded twice by the RCMP to check my customs clearance. They could have just as easily asked to see my boaters safety card, but did not.
The one irony here in Canada is that if you rent a boat, no matter how big, you are not required to have a Boater Safety Card and only need to take an "instructional session" with the renter. Believe me with all the 40ft rental houseboats along the Trent, it is real entertainment at the locks to watch the renters bang into everything and everybody. The card is a good first step though.
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