Personal Watercraft Safety Course

Legal Requirements Similar to powerboat operators, PWC operators are required to have the following safety equipment: „ „ A properly fitted, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for personal watercraft use, worn by each person on board „ „ Sound signaling device – a whistle attached to your life jacket and/or a stored signal horn „ „ A U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type B fire extinguisher, good for gasoline and oil fires „ „ A backfire flame arrestor that is clean, functional and well-secured, where applicable „ „ Visual distress signals, such as flares (required for coastal waters and recommended for inland waters) Age of Operator To operate a PWC designed for one person, the operator must be 16 years of age or older. A person 12-15 years of age may operate a PWC designed to carry two or more persons if the operator is supervised on board by a person 18 years or older. Boater Card As of January 1, 2018, DBW is implementing the California Vessel Operator Card law contained in California Senate Bill 941 passed and signed by the governor in 2014. More commonly known as the California Boater Card legislation, the law prohibits the operation of any motorized vessel in California without a valid Boater Card developed and issued by DBW. This program will be phased in by age, beginning with boaters 20 years of age and younger in 2018. To apply for a California Boater Card, or to see a list of approved courses, please visit Boaters who have taken an approved safety course between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2018, will have one year from January 1, 2018 to apply and pay for their

California Boater Card under a “grandfathering” exemption regardless of their age. After December 31, 2018, boaters who took a course prior to 2018 will need to take and pass a new safety course in order to be eligible for a California Boater Card.


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