Article 1.4. Vessel Operators’ Education And Certification Cards of California Harbors And Navigation Code >> Division 3. >> Chapter 5. >> Article 1.4.
(a) On or before January 1, 2018, the division shall develop a
vessel operator card to be issued pursuant to this article.
(b) The division shall issue, or cause to be issued, a vessel
operator card to a person who provides the division with proof that
the person has passed a vessel operator examination approved by the
division or a vessel operator course that includes an examination and
is approved by the division pursuant to Section 668.1 or 668.3.
(c) A vessel operator card shall be valid for the life of the
person to whom it is issued.
(a) (1) The division shall determine the fees required under
this section in amounts sufficient to cover the reasonable costs of
the development, establishment, and operation of the program. The
fees shall not exceed those costs.
(2) The division shall charge a fee not to exceed thirty dollars
($30) for the initial vessel operator card issued pursuant to
subdivision (b) of Section 678.
(3) The division shall charge a fee not to exceed ten dollars
($10) for a duplicate vessel operator card issued pursuant to
subdivision (b) of Section 678.
(b) In determining the amount of the fees imposed pursuant to this
section, the division shall establish, and consult with, a technical
advisory group consisting of interested persons, including, but not
limited to, representatives of the boating community. The deputy
director shall appoint the members of the advisory group.
(c) The fees collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited
in the Vessel Operator Certification Account, which is hereby
established within the Harbors and Watercraft Revolving Fund.
(d) The division may expend the moneys in the Vessel Operator
Certification Account, upon appropriation by the Legislature, for
purposes of implementing this article.
(a) The division may develop and provide a vessel operator
examination on the division's Internet Web site. The division shall
provide links from the division's Internet Web site to other vessel
operator examinations approved by the division that are available
through a provider whose course has been approved by the National
Association of State Boating Law Administrators.
(b) If the division contracts for the provision of vessel operator
examination services with test vendors, the division shall conduct a
formal competitive bid process and shall contract with more than one
vendor for those services.
(c) A vessel operator examination developed or approved by the
division shall be consistent with the National Association of State
Boating Law Administrators' National Boating Education Standards, as
applicable to basic vessel operations, rules of navigation, and
boating safety only.
(a) An amount not to exceed four million dollars
($4,000,000) shall, upon appropriation in the annual Budget Act, be
transferred from the Harbors and Watercraft Revolving Fund to the
Vessel Operator Certification Account in the form of a loan to be
used by the division to develop and establish the program under this
(b) The division shall repay the loan described in subdivision (a)
from fees received pursuant to Section 678.3 within eight years of
the effective date of this article.
(c) If the division has not repaid the loan within the time period
specified in subdivision (b), the division shall notify the Joint
Legislative Budget Committee.
(d) The loan shall not impair the intended expenditure purposes of
the Harbors and Watercraft Revolving Fund.
(a) On or before April 1, 2019, and on or before April 1
annually thereafter, the division shall prepare a report that
includes all of the following information with respect to the prior
(1) The total number of vessel operator cards issued pursuant to
(2) The fees collected, and the costs incurred, by the division
pursuant to this article.
(3) The correlation between vessel operator cards issued and the
number of accidents, injuries, and fatalities related to the
operation of vessels in the state that are reported pursuant to
(4) The number of violations of this article reported to the
(b) The report shall be posted on the division's Internet Web
(c) On or before April 1, 2023, and again on April 1, 2028, the
report prepared by the division and posted on its Internet Web site
shall include recommendations, developed by the division, in
consultation with the technical advisory group established pursuant
to subdivision (b) of Section 678.3, relating to any program changes
to improve boater safety in California or, alternatively, reasons why
the program should not be continued.
(a) Subject to the schedule in subdivision (b), a person
shall not operate on waters subject to the jurisdiction of the state
a vessel that is propelled by an engine, regardless of whether the
engine is the principal source of propulsion, unless the person has
in his or her possession a vessel operator card issued by the
division pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 678.
(b) A person is subject to subdivision (a) according to the
(1) On and after January 1, 2018: A person 20 years of age or
(2) On and after January 1, 2019: A person 25 years of age or
(3) On and after January 1, 2020: A person 35 years of age or
(4) On and after January 1, 2021: A person 40 years of age or
(5) On and after January 1, 2022: A person 45 years of age or
(6) On and after January 1, 2023: A person 50 years of age or
(7) On and after January 1, 2024: A person 60 years of age or
(8) On and after January 1, 2025: All persons, regardless of age.
(c) This section does not apply to any of the following:
(1) A person who is a resident of another state or a foreign
country who is operating a vessel and meets either of the following
(A) The person is temporarily using the waters of this state for a
period not to exceed 60 days, and meets the applicable requirements,
if any, of his or her state of residency.
(B) The person is temporarily using the waters of this state for a
period not to exceed 90 days, and meets the applicable requirements,
if any, of his or her country of residency.
(2) A person operating a vessel while under the direct supervision
of a person 18 years of age or older who is in possession of a
vessel operator card issued pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section
678 or who is not required to possess a vessel operator card pursuant
to paragraph (6).
(3) A person operating a vessel in an organized regatta or vessel
race, or water ski race.
(4) A person operating a rental vessel.
(5) A person who is in possession of a current commercial fishing
(6) A person who is in possession of a valid marine operator
license, for the waters upon which the licensee is operating, issued
by the United States Coast Guard, or who is in possession of a valid
certificate issued pursuant to the International Convention on
Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers,
1978, as amended.
(7) A person who has successfully completed a boating course
approved by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.
(a) A violation of this article is an infraction.
(b) A person convicted of an infraction for a violation of this
article shall be punished as follows:
(1) For an initial conviction, by a fine of not more than one
hundred dollars ($100).
(2) For a second conviction, by a fine of not more than two
hundred fifty dollars ($250).
(3) For a third or subsequent conviction, by a fine of not more
than five hundred dollars ($500).
(c) A fine imposed on a vessel operator pursuant to subdivision
(b) shall be waived, if the vessel operator provides proof that he or
she had a valid vessel operator card at the time of the citation.
(d) (1) In addition to the fines imposed by subdivision (b), the
court shall order a person convicted of violating this article to
complete and pass a boating safety course approved by the division
pursuant to Section 668.3.
(2) If a person who is ordered to complete and pass a boating
safety course pursuant to paragraph (1) is 18 years of age or
younger, the court may require that person to obtain the consent of a
parent or guardian to enroll in that course.
(3) A person who has been ordered by a court to complete a boating
safety course pursuant to paragraph (1) shall submit to the court
proof of completion and passage of the course within seven months of
the date of his or her conviction. The proof shall be in a form that
has been approved by the division and that is capable of being
submitted to the court or a state or local agency approved by the
division through the United States Postal Service or another
certified means of transmission.