RBOC Urging Governor's Signature of Vessel Operator Certification Legislation

RBOC supports SB 941 [Monning and DeSaulnier] that would phase-in a boat operator certification requirement in California, and the boater advocacy organization is urging California Governor Jerry Brown to sign this significant safety measure into law.

RBOC supports that provisions of SB 941 that would 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. This legislation will enhance safety on the state’s waterways.

SB 941 is modeled on legislation RBOC sponsored previously. This new measure 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 including the free BoatUS Foundation course will be an option. The BoatUS Foundation course is available at: http://www.boatus.org/courses/

In addition, the fees to be established by DBW for certificates will be at levels sufficient to cover the reasonable costs of the development, establishment, and operation of the program. SB 941 would prohibit the fees from exceeding those costs.