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All boat operators 50 years old and younger required to obtain and carry California Boater Card

As of January 2023, all boaters 50 years of age and younger who operate on California waters obtain a California Boater Card (CBC).

California boating law requires boaters to carry a CBC while operating a recreational motorized vessel on California waterways. The CBC shows that its holder has successfully taken and passed a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA)/state-approved boater safety education examination.

In 2018, the CBC program began the phase-in by age for operators of motorized boats on state waterways. As of January 2023, all boaters 50 years of age and younger must obtain a CBC. By 2025, all persons who operate on California waters will be required to have one. 

The CBC is issued by the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW). The lifetime card fee is $10. The lost card replacement fee is $5. Once DBW has received the boater’s application, proof of education, and payment, the boater will receive a 90-day temporary CBC by email and the official card by mail within 60 days.

Instructions on how to apply for a CBC can be found at www.californiaboatercard.com/applynow.

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