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California

The BoatUS Foundation's Online Course is the only FREE Online Boating Safety Course approved by the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways.

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Recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard, approved by NASBLA and your state boating agency.


Here's how to get started or return to your course:

We launched a completely new platform for our free online course on 11/18/2020!

Our old course system Is officially retired but if you need to access your certificate of completion, you can request a copy through this form

For a brief tutorial on getting started in the new system or to contact us, click here.

Before taking the course:

You must apply for a California Boater ID on the California website www.CaliforniaBoaterCard.com and keep your ID number handy. For more detailed instructions, click the certificate and card info tab above.


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Complete the Course in Three Easy Steps:

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Enroll yourself in a Boating Safety Course from the Course Catalog

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Study and pass the FREE Boating Safety Course.

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Print out your certificate of completion yourself for free


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Education Requirements:


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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. Prior to implementation, the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) will began issuing lifetime Boater Cards to those who show proof of passing an approved boater safety exam such as this Boat US Foundation course.

Are you pre-qualified for a California Boater Card? DBW will accept proof of passing an approved boater education course taken between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2017. Persons who have passed an approved examination during this timeframe will have until December 31, 2018 to apply for a Boater Card at www.CaliforniaBoaterCard.com. Phase in schedule for those who are required to possess a valid card:

  • January 1, 2018 – Persons 20 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2019 – Persons 25 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2020 – Persons 35 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2021 – Persons 40 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2022 – Persons 45 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2023 – Persons 50 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2024 – Persons 60 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2025 – All persons regardless of age

Age & Horsepower Restrictions: A person under the age of 16 may not operate a motorboat of more than 15 horsepower unless the boat is a sailboat and does not exceed 30 feet in length - OR - the boat is a dinghy used between a moored boat and shore or between 2 moored boats. The law does allow persons aged 12-15 to operate motorboats of more than 15 horsepower or sailboats over 30 feet if supervised by a person on board who is at least 18 years of age.

PWC Operation: A person under that age of 16 may not operate a personal watercraft (PWC) of more than 15 horsepower unless they are between the ages of 12-15 and are supervised by a person on board who is at least 18 years of age. Any person, who allows an unsupervised person under the age of 16 to operate, is guilty of an infraction.


How Do I Get My California Certificate?


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1. Apply for California Boater ID on the California website www.CaliforniaBoaterCard.com

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

Watch a short video on how to apply for the card here.

Course Information:


4 - 8 Hours

Estimated Course Time

6 Lessons

Each Contains a 10 Question Quiz

Final Exam

60 Questions Pulled Randomly

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Complete the Course at Your Own Pace

Choose when and where to take your course.
In our new online learning system, take it on any device with an internet connection and automatically have your progress saved when the window is closed.*

*You must be registed in our new system at courses.boatus.org and not have previously registered or started at elearning.boatus.org.


Get Started Now →

Online Course Video:



Testimonials


  • Great course, and so much more convenient than going at night for several nights... Keep up the great work, and see you on the water.

    Gene
  • Thank you so much! This was a great course and I learned so much. Hope you have a great weekend!

    Lindsay
  • Thank you. The information that you gave me allowed me to complete the course. Your assistance was very much appreciated.

    D. White
  • Thank you so much! You folks are so kind. Good luck with the updates and have safe boating fun this summer!

    Brennan