Boating Laws & License Requirements by State
Passing a boating safety course will give you a discount on boat insurance and will increase your
water safety skills. Boat safety courses are an excellent investment of time and money, regardless
of your state's boating law. Each state has unique boating education requirements, and the boating
rules, laws and regulations vary from state to state for obtaining a boat license or safety certification.
Be sure to review the full legal requirements for your particular state.
||California Department of Boating and Waterways
California's new law will be phased in over the next several years. While the law
goes into effect on January 1, 2015, the California Vessel Operator Card (CVOC) requirement will begin on
January 1, 2018 for certain groups, and be phased in through January 1,
2025 when all persons will be required to have the Card. The Division
of Boating and Waterways will begin evaluating implementation, and
setting up frameworks to comply with SB 941 beginning in 2015.
The new California Harbors and Navigation Code Section 678.11(b)
contains the following schedule to have a CVOC based on operator age by
the following dates:
- 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
||click here to access the ABCs of California Boating (pdf format; 6.8MB)
States with mandatory boating law require safety certification for some or all boaters. Only one state (Alabama) requires an actual boat license. However, many prospective students are not aware of state legal terminology, and search for information about a boat license or licence, or a captain or captains license. This page is an excellent resource for boating law for all fifty states.