Frequently Asked Questions about California Boating Regulations & Laws

Q. What is the "California Boater Education Card"?

A. The Boater Education Card is proof of competency of the basic rules of the water that all boaters should know.

Q. Do I have to get the California Boater Education Card?

A. As of the dates shown below, these boaters will be required to carry a boater card issued by Department of Parks and Recreation:

  • January 1, 2018 Persons 20 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2019 Persons 25 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2020 Persons 35 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2021 Persons 40 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2022 Persons 45 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2023 Persons 50 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2024 Persons 60 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2025 All persons regardless of age

Q. How do I get my California Boater Education Card?

A. The steps required to get your California Boater Education Card are as follows:

  1. Pay the one-time fee of $29.95—free unlimited retries of the final exam
  2. Study the California boating safety course manual and pass the final exam
  3. Download your Certificate of Completion
  4. Upload your Certificate of Completion on the state website to obtain your California Boating Card

For a complete overview of the California online boating exam process, please visit the California Boater Card website.

Q. What if I don't pass the California Boater Exam?

A. No problem. There is no cost to retry the exam if you do not pass. You will receive your score and be allowed to review any of your answers. You can then review the course material and take the exam again at no cost to you.

Q. How much does the exam cost?

A. There is a one-time fee of $29.95 paid to BOATERexam.com®. It includes unlimited attempts at the final exam and your certificate of completion.

Your California Boating Card is $10.00 and can be purchased directly from the state website once you complete the online course.

Q. What payment methods are accepted?

A. We accept payments by VISA, Mastercard, AMEX, PayPal, and Prepaid vouchers.

Q. What is the "Certificate of Completion"?

A. The Certificate of Completion is proof of competency and proves that you took a boater education course and passed. You upload the Certificate of Completion to the state website to obtain your California Boating Card.

Q. When will I receive my California Boater Education Card in the mail?

A. Once you apply for your California Boater Education Card on the state website, your card will arrive by US Mail within 60 days.

Q. What if I already took the online course and have my certificate?

A. California Division of Boating and Waterways will accept proof of passing a National Association of State Boating Law Administration (NASBLA) between Jan. 1, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2017. Persons who have passed an approved examination during this timeframe will have until Dec. 31, 2018 to apply for their California Boater Card to receive the “grandfathering” exemption regardless of their age.

Please visit the state website for more information: californiaboatercard.com/faqs-2/

Q. Is there a time limit to complete the final exam?

A. You can take the final exam at any time, day or night. The exam is not timed but inactive exams will be erased after 24 hours.

Q. Is there a time limit to complete the online course?

A. You can take the online course at any time, day or night. However, courses must be completed within 90 days of payment at which time your access to the course will expire.

Q. How many questions are on the exam?

A. The exam consists of 60 multiple choice questions.

Q. What is the passing grade?

A. The passing grade is 80%, or 48 correct answers out of 60 questions.


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1. You will pass the course

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