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Boating Safety

This 8-hour Boat America certificate class taught by members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary is approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and fulfills the requirements for a California Boater Card. Topics include types of boats, boating law, safety equipment, safe operation and navigation, boating emergencies, trailering, and sports boating.

Per the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways, all boat operators will be required to carry a CA Boater Card by January 1, 2025.

The course includes the following topics:

Introduction to Boating

  • Types of power boats; sailboats; outboards; paddle boats; houseboats; different uses of boats; various power boating engines; jet drives; family boating basics.

Boating Law

  • Boat registration; boating regulation; hull identification number; required boat safety equipment; operating safely and reporting accidents; protecting the marine environment; Federal boat law; state boating laws; personal watercraft requirements.

Boat Safety Equipment

  • Personal flotation devices ("life jackets"); fire extinguishers; sound-producing devices; visual-distress signals; dock lines and rope; first aid kit; anchors and anchor lines; other boating safety equipment.

Safe Boating

  • Bow riding; alcohol and drug abuse; entering, loading, and trimming a boat; fueling portable and permanent tanks; steering with a tiller and a wheel; docking, undocking and mooring; knots; filing a float plan; checking equipment, fuel, weather and tides; using charts; choosing and using an anchor; safe PWC handling; general water safety.


  • The U.S. Aids to Navigation system; types of buoys and beacons; navigation rules (sometimes referred to as right-of-way rules); avoiding collisions; sound signals; PWC "tunnel vision."

Boating Problems

  • Hypothermia; boating accidents and rescues; man overboard recovery; capsizing; running aground; river hazards; strainers: emergency radio calls; engine problems; equipment failures; carbon monoxide (CO); other boating and PWC problems.

Trailering, Storing and Protecting Your Boat

  • Types of trailers; trailer brakes, lights, hitches, tires, and bearings; loading, balancing, and towing a trailer; towing (and backing) a trailer; boat launching and retrieving; boat storage and theft protection; launching, retrieving and storing a PWC.

Hunting and Fishing, Water-skiing and River Boating

  • Carrying hunting gear and weapons in a boat; fishing from a boat; water-skiing safety guidelines and hand signals; water-skiing with a PWC; navigating rivers, and other boating tips.
CGAux crest

Course taught by U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary

Spring 2024

Classes are held each month online. For more information, please contact Patrick Newburn.

Course Fee

$25 cash due to instructor (textbook and certificate included)


Patrick Newburn

114-07 Staff Officer - Public Affairs

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary