Important California Boat Registration Reminders

With over 800 miles of coastline and thousands of lakes, there are many great opportunities for fishing and boating in California. And as with boating in any state, boat registration is required.  Here is some general California boat registration information. 

CA boat registration is required for sailboats over eight feet long and any powered watercraft, even on if only used on private lakes. However, if you solely row or paddle your watercraft, CA boat registration is not necessary. And if you are just visiting and/or renting a boat, California boat registration is not required.

In addition to boat registration, by January 2018, California boaters also will be required to obtain a California Boater Card. This new law will be phased in by age, required by anyone 20 years old or younger driving a boat. It is an exam on safe operation of boats with motors which can be completed with classroom instruction or online. Cost is about $10 and will be good for a lifetime. The Division of Boating and Waterways projects issuing these cards as early as Fall of 2017. 

While investigating California boat registration info, I also found there was great attention to the prevention of invasive quagga and zebra mussels.  In fact, there is a “Mussel Fee Paid” sticker which must be displayed on the hull next to the CA boat registration sticker.  All boats leaving a waterway should be dry, clean, and inspected to prevent spread of this invasive species to other waterways in every state, not just California.

When learning where to boat, be sure to investigate California boating facilities such as ramps and marinas. You also can check on the “Latest News” and Safety information, which is grouped by water craft length. Carefully read all of the California boat registration information. If in doubt, go ahead and register with proof of ownership and filling out a form. Then, you don’t have to worry about it and can fully enjoy your time on the water.

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. He says there are “people who fish”… and there are “fishermen”.  One of the few things he knows is that he is a “fisherman”…  To the point it could be classified as borderline illness.  Sharing this obsession is rewarding, therapeutic. He likes to encourage people to “stop and smell the crappie.”  Enjoys catching fish, but gets a greater thrill out of helping someone else hook up.

Born in Florida, but raised on the banks of Oklahoma farm ponds. Now relocated to western Pennsylvania. He has fished, worked, lived all around the US.  He has a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State as well…

And he met his wife while electrofishing. He has been contributing weekly to since 2011.   


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