Boater Education Cards Will Be Required On California Waters

STOCKTON (CBS13) — The state is working to make the waterways around the region a lot of safer by making sure anyone who operates a boat is well educated on how to properly run one.

This time next year, people will be required to carry a boater education card.

The education card is like a permit you can carry in your wallet or place on your boat. It proves you’re able to operate it and know exactly what to do in an emergency.

As the temperatures begin to warm up, people around San Joaquin County are just about ready to head towards the river.

“It’s great. There are a lot of nice people out there, and it’s a lot cooler than be on land,” said Gabriel Garcia, who is enjoying the warm weather.

And so is boat instructor Doug Sherman, who is also preparing for a busy summer.

“A lot of people buy a boat and don’t know how to handle the boat. They don’t know what the boat is going to do,” said Sherman.

Sherman is part of the San Joaquin Delta Power Squadron, a national organization with a branch in Stockton that teaches people all about operating a boat, safely. The course starts with intense classroom lesson and ends with an on-the-water training.

“Safety, you need to know what to do if the boat all of a sudden stops running, you better know how to anchor it so you don’t end up on a rock, you have other boaters on the water, you need to know what the rules of the road are,” said Sherman.

In order to keep the water ways safe, starting January 1, 2018, anyone under the age of 20 will be required to get a California boater card, which proves a person has successfully taken and passed a state-approved boater safety education exam.

“You understand that at 19, you are responsible and you can kill somebody just leaving the dock. And if you are in jail, daddy is not going to come get you, and he’s probably not going to let you use the boat again anyway,” he said.

Each year after 2018, the state will add a new age group so that by 2025 anyone regardless of age has to carry a boater education card. The requirement comes as a relief to those who just want to enjoy the water.

“I love it. As long as the weather is like this, hey I feel good every day,” said Darryl Spencer of Stockton.

Starting in January, people can get those cards from the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways. The state plans on charging $10 for each card.

Listen Live