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California Boating 

A Course for Safe Boating


Chapter 3


Vessel Operation

Hear that? The water is calling you!


This course will teach you:

Personal safety

Basic boating guidelines

Boating law and rules of

the road

Basic operation of a variety

of vessels

Accident prevention

and rescue

You’ll also develop the skills and

knowledge to make the most of

your adventure on California’s


No matter where you boat in California, a water adventure awaits you—each

one as big and unique as the state itself. It can be as majestic as paddling

a kayak around San Francisco Bay within view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Or as heart–thumping as riding the raging flows of the Lower Kern. You can

canoe the quiet might of the lower American River in fall, or fish the mountain

splendor of Lake Almanor. Something wilder? Make waves on a personal

watercraft at Lake Perris. Getting away? Set sail with friends on the crystal

Pacific Ocean out of Mission Bay.

So many adventures—all a lot more fun for you and everyone else when you

learn how to boat safely and confidently, and prevent accidents. This course

will cover the basics to show you how.

Play It Safe

Almost one million pleasure craft are registered in California and more

than four million boaters including paddle craft owners. That’s a lot of

Californians having a lot of adventures.

Unfortunately, many boaters will get hurt. The Coast Guard reports about

4,730 boating accidents each year in the United States—causing approxi-

mately 700 deaths, 3,000 injuries and $36 million in damage. About 86% of

all boating deaths occur on boats where the operator has not completed a

boating safety education course.

The good news—boaters can prevent many of these accidents by learning

safety and using common sense.


Photo courtesy of CSU Long Beach Sailing Association