RBOC Supporting Legislation to Phase-In Boat Operator Certification

Recreational Boaters of California is working in support of SB 941 that has been introduced by Senator Bill Monning [D-Carmel] and Senator Mark DeSaulnier [D-Concord] to phase-in a vessel operator certification requirement.

Stated RBOC President Karen Rhyne: “We are pleased that SB 941 is being pursued to require that boat operators pass a boating education examination and obtain a vessel operator card issued by the state Division of Boating and Waterways [DBW] in order to operate a boat in California that is propelled by an engine.”

Continued Rhyne: “We have been working with the co-authors in the development of SB 941, which is modeled on legislation RBOC sponsored previously. This new measure will work to further enhance safety on the waterways and we will be working together with Senators Monning and DeSaulnier, as well as other stakeholders, to accomplish enhanced boater safety.”

SB 941 would require DBW to issue a vessel operator card to individuals who have passed an approved examination.  The requirement to obtain a vessel operator card would apply initially to operators 20 years of age or younger with a phased-in implementation date depending on the age of the individual. The seven-year phase-in would begin in 2018 and would eventually apply to everyone as of 2025.

Importantly, online education such as the BoatUS Foundation course will be an option. The BoatUS Foundation course is available at: http://www.boatus.org/courses/

RBOC will continue to be engaged as SB 941 moves forward. Additional key provisions in the bill as introduced are proposed statutes that provide for the vessel operator certification program to be administered by the Division of Boating and Waterways, establish a procedure to set new fees at levels that are reasonable and at levels directly related to the costs of implementation, and phase-in a lifetime certificate for operators who pass a state-approved examination.