Senator DeSaulnier’s Boating Safety Bill Passes Senate

May 30, 2014 8:00 am · 45 comments

A bill to require an individual to pass a boating education examination and obtain a vessel operator card from the Division of Boating and Waterways in order to operate a boat in California passed the Senate yesterday.

SB 941, by Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) and Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord), will require the Division of Boating and Waterways to develop a vessel operator card and issue it to individuals who provide proof that they have passed an approved examination. Beginning on January 1, 2018, the requirement to possess a Division vessel operator card will apply to operators 20 years of age or younger with a staggered implementation date depending on the age of the individual until it eventually applies to everyone in 2025.

“National statistics show that requiring first time boaters to pass a safety exam will save lives and decrease boating accidents,” Senator DeSaulnier said.  “As someone who represents the Delta, one of the most traveled waterways in the state, I know that California cannot afford to continue to lag behind the rest of the nation when it comes to boater safety requirements. SB 941 will make the Delta and all of California’s incredible waterways safer for all.”

California is one of five states that do not require individuals to take a boating safety course before operating a vessel. Senator Monning introduced the legislation after hearing from constituents that have been involved in accidents due to unsafe boaters that did not have the proper knowledge to operate a vessel.

Similar legislation has been proven to save lives. In 1993, Connecticut enacted legislation that required mandatory boating education and since then the state’s fatality rate fell by 56% and the state’s accident rate fell by 18%.

Antler May 30, 2014 at 8:08 AM

Thank you, Senator. This was LONG overdue!

Atticus Thraxx May 30, 2014 at 8:48 AM

Unemployment at 8.7%, taxed to the point of comedy, crumbling infrastructure, packed prisons, unusable schools but by all means throw a few more coils around the neck of our citizens with yet more needless legislation. Putz.

Anon May 30, 2014 at 8:51 AM

Every boat should have a complete inspection every year before in gets in the water.

anon May 30, 2014 at 9:15 AM

There are loads of crazy, drunk, unsafe idiots out there every summer/weekend…I am surprised that dozens do not get killed every week. Letting your kid drive your 400 horsepower boast is such a great idea now isn’t it? Be prepared to get sued for all you got..which is probably a boat & a Harley.

Yes – is long overdue–best thing TR’s former owner has done

People are not allowed May 30, 2014 at 9:16 AM

to be responsible for their own actions any longer. Mark needs more ideas for government regulations.

Actually, its the peoples own fault. No one is accountable any longer so the government has to make laws dictating every aspect of a persons life.

Obviously the cost of freedom is to much a burden these days for many people.

Don May 30, 2014 at 9:29 AM

We need to have immediate implementation if this passes so we can weed out all the idiots that think driving a boat is just like driving a car. Totally different rules/right of ways on water that very few seem to understand or pay attention to. I hope that by “vessel” they also include the jet ski’s.

Laura Zah May 30, 2014 at 9:34 AM

And yet another source of revenue for the state at the taxpayer’s expense. Funny how the story does not include the $$$ amount, just kinda forgot about that little detail under all the happy news.

Michelle May 30, 2014 at 9:44 AM

anon, in reality, the people who use do the most crazy-boating are those who are most affluent and that feel they are entitled and no laws affect them. I am so grateful for this, all vehicles should require licensed drivers.

MTZ May 30, 2014 at 11:22 AM

I will never completely understand people that feel the government should be our Mommy. I had a Mom, she has passed and guess what? She taught me to take care of myself. Mr. D will not be getting any votes from our house.

The Professor May 30, 2014 at 11:33 AM

OMG, I actually agree with Marky Mark on something.

BDuns May 30, 2014 at 11:45 AM

so they pass the test and get certified. Someone please explain to me how that is going to prevent idiotic boating….because our drivers license process really weeds out the idiot drivers.

atticus thraxx has it right

@#4 May 30, 2014 at 11:48 AM

“There are loads of crazy, drunk, unsafe idiots out there every summer/weekend…”

True, but how does this change that? We already have plenty of laws that they are breaking- why would they care about breaking one more?!? It will just be more ineffective bureaucracy that will cost the taxpayers- and the drunks will still be out on the Delta.


Have you been out on the Delta or some of the local lakes? Trust me, it’s not Vanderbuilts out on their yacht causing problems.

The Mamba May 30, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Voila, and just like that California has a new “revenue” source.

Yhe Phantom May 30, 2014 at 12:15 PM

People are not allowed May 30, 2014 at 9:16 AM
“Actually, its the peoples own fault. No one is accountable any longer so the government has to make laws dictating every aspect of a persons life.”

– Incredible insight…thought of the month for June.

Thank you.

Old School May 30, 2014 at 12:19 PM

How about concentrating and fixing
the economy? Raising the minimum
wage will not help either. JACK#SS!

ClayDen May 30, 2014 at 12:29 PM

@Yhe Phantom

Of course the people are too stupid and the higher power of government that knows better than us mere citizens has to control every facet of our lives.

Spoken like a true Marxist.

Crooks May 30, 2014 at 1:05 PM

I’d like to see new legislation disallowing paid time off for public servants who’ve been suspected of breaking laws thus suspended from regular duty. It’s a damn paid vacation for crying out loud. And if they’ve been demoted to office duty they should collect office duty (private sector) wages only and not a penny more. If found guilty (which many aren’t but should be) they should pay back every penny since day one of suspension. Quit ripping off tax payers.

Always Right May 30, 2014 at 2:36 PM

Now that you have solved the problem with boats, how about some legislataion requiring bicyclists to be licensed? More people die from bike injuries than boating.

And once you have bikers licenses in place, along with regular renewals and $100 annual fees to pay for all the bike lanes and enforcement costs, then we can go after pedestrians….

Pro Fi May 30, 2014 at 2:40 PM

I agree 100% it is about time! I hope this applies to sailing vessels as well as those under power. Too many idiots out there that make it unsafe for the rest of us who know and follow the navigation rules. And I don’t mind at all that the state has come up with a new revenue source. I think this is going to save a lot of lives and hopefully improve our safety on the water. Too many people think driving a power vessel is as simple as driving a car. There is NO comparison… There are no brakes first off. And if you think the rules of the road are a simple set of regs check out the USCG site:

Thanks Mark, first thing you have done in a while I agree with!

Pro Fi May 30, 2014 at 2:42 PM

OH… and there should be a on the water skills test, similar to US Sailing Powerboat Safety certification. Have seen more then a few folks injured due to poor boat handling skills.

Elwood May 30, 2014 at 2:44 PM

Oh boy, Marvelous Marky Mark is going to Congress!

His departure will raise the average IQ in both Sacramento and D.C.

Yhe Phantom May 30, 2014 at 2:56 PM

#16 Clayden

It is actually a Libertarian precept. Ayn Rand.

“Actually, its the people’s own fault. No one is accountable any longer”

– Have you actually read Marx, or Rand, or anything since high school?

33% of high school graduates never read another book in their lives according to sources.

Yhe Phantom May 30, 2014 at 2:58 PM

They buy a boat, and go to the river, tell everybody that puts on a vest that that’s an insult to the Captain, and off they go.

– State Senator Mark DeSaulnier for Congress 2014 – the Good Concord Solution as our leadership voice in Washington.

Yhe Phantom May 30, 2014 at 3:11 PM

YOUNG DEMOCRAT TRAINING LESSON: Capitalism-brief remarks

Democrats are not Socialist, Communist, or Fascist. We are intelligent preservationists and social and financial engineers. Capitalism is the system that provides jobs, products, goods, and services to a mass population of consumers, and allows anyone to become investors by way of independent purchase, pension plans, and tax sheltered savings. No other economic system provides as many fine and effective opportunities for the individual to work for personal economic and social success for themselves and their families.

We prefer to solve problems at the highest system level, because national solutions to widespread social and economic problems are intrinsically more effective, economical, and equitable.

Rollo Tomasi May 30, 2014 at 3:59 PM

Now if you can just figure out what young democrats should do when they run out of other peoples’ money

ClayDen May 30, 2014 at 5:28 PM

@Yhe Phantom #23

Your snarky, condescending comment doesn’t deserve a response, but here it is anyway. I am a voracious reader, am a semi-retired aerospace engineer and my “retirement job” is teaching in the school of engineering at a local university.

There ought to be a license..... May 30, 2014 at 6:33 PM

Anyone running for political office should have to take a test and get a license. The test should be designed to weed out idiots who don’t understand the concept of Freedom, Personal Responsibility, Personal and State Sovereignty and the Constitution of the United States among other things.

Mark would not be licensed.

Pro Fi May 30, 2014 at 7:54 PM

@ Mary – Great Idea! I would support that as well.

Killjoy May 30, 2014 at 8:10 PM

The two best days in a boat owners life are the day he buys it and the day he sells it.

Anybody want to buy a boat?

With all the damned drought going on, there’s no water to go boating anyway.

Starman May 30, 2014 at 8:12 PM

Would I need this license to rent a boat at a lake like San Pablo if so there goes all that money for boats that won’t be rented I guess this will punish the people who like a quiet fishing time once a year I’ve done this from the time I was 15 with out any problems I’m now 50. There goes all those jobs..
Now let’s talk license an idiot is an idiot no license in the world is going to stop him from being dangerous around others. driving the freeway proves that people some even drive without a license

Antler May 30, 2014 at 8:58 PM

Pro Fi at #20 and #21 …… Yes, and the actual craft should pass safety inspection.

Laura Zah May 30, 2014 at 9:30 PM

Oh Boy! Now we have Politics Column #2. Why not just hijack all the columns with your left wing zealot BS Phantom? Just pee all over the entire site.

Laura Zah May 30, 2014 at 9:39 PM

It’s about a boating safety bill, not a platform for you to spout off about your stupid, socialist, youth brainwashing, training crap.

Dr. Jellyfinger® May 30, 2014 at 10:28 PM

Look out! Laura is OTR

Bill May 30, 2014 at 11:00 PM

“California is one of five states that do not require individuals to take a boating safety course before operating a vessel.” Don’t like it, move to one of the other 4 States..!!

SamRox May 30, 2014 at 11:33 PM

All I have to say is finally it’s about time something like this comes along! After being nearly driven into by a drunk driver at Berryessa years ago, this has been a main topic in my house hold! Maybe just maybe this will prevent a few accidents a year and actually teach people the rules to the water. Too many people buy a boat and just think it’s so easy, they don’t realize there are distances you should stay away from other boats, how to watch for or pull skiers, or how to ride the wake when it’s rough out. Just like driving a car you need a license yes there are those who break the rules but with the possibility of anything happening to the license then maybe people will use their summer fun safer!

popeye May 31, 2014 at 6:15 AM

And what is this ‘operator card’ going to cost the boater each year?, on top of the fishing license, boat registration fee, that invasive muscle removal sticker fee, trailer fee.
One simple way to do this would be to do a background check with the DMV on the operators drivers license. Bad driving record, probably a bad operator also.

Atticus Thraxx May 31, 2014 at 8:11 AM

I can actually smell her hate right through the internets. So now that our deadly waterways are safe, can we move on to problems that actually affect more than 0.02% of our population?

Just me May 31, 2014 at 8:32 AM

Just another tax to pay I top of the luxury, reg, new muscle bs and everything else.

On too of that is bet more than 3/4 of the people pumping this new requirement in this thread have never even owned a boat and are just talking out their butts.

It’s not going to stop the idiots. It’s not going to stop the drunks. For the 3/4 of the morons in here that have no clue. Owning a boat costs money. Lots of money for repairs. Fuel. Launch fees.

So tossing in another couple hundred dollar class isn’t going to prevent anyone from being out there. You’re just finding a new revenue source and bleeding it dry as usual

@#38 May 31, 2014 at 9:16 AM

The question has posed already in other posts, but I’ll ask again about your circumstance- how would this law have realistically prevented the drunk driver at Berryessa from almost hitting you?

As popeye mentioned there are already a ridiculous number of fees to own a boat in CA. If you wanted to go fish, you would have to pay:

1) Boat registration
2) Trailer Registration
3) Invasive muscle removal fee
4) Contra Costa County personal property tax on boat
5) Obamacare 10% excise tax on fishing rod (paid by manufacturer, but passed on to you)
6) $.71 per gallon gas tax
7) Sport Fishing license

Don’t believe #5? Here’ the IRS publication. Crazy…

Richard May 31, 2014 at 10:53 AM

This legislation has more than “Safety” involved; it is just one more level of control on the citizens and another fee and of course, another bureau, agency, commission, and more government employees with a better retirement system than is available to the private sector. Also, is there any reference to the person riding the water ski or wake board? How about a person on a paddle board or in a canoe or a row boat or a sailboat? And of course, what is the annual fee? My first driver’s license was less than $5.00 and now it’s $30 something.

Anon May 31, 2014 at 2:02 PM

AHHH Yhe PhfatTired is here too!!!

Bill May 31, 2014 at 6:39 PM

@ just me #41, I didn’t realize taking a automobile Drivers licence test at the DMV cost a couple of hundred dollars!! Thanks for enlightening all of us on the HUGE additional costs of taking “an approved examination” I’m sure you’ll have to flip through a book to study, and answer at least 40 multiple choice questions.

I’m certainly glad you have until 2025 to study up as “The requirement to possess a Division vessel operator card will apply to operators 20 years of age or younger with a staggered implementation date depending on the age of the individual until it eventually applies to everyone in 2025.”

Better start saving and studying now!!

Dr. Jellyfinger® May 31, 2014 at 7:13 PM

They also charge me “Property Tax” on my boat. WTF? I asked… I was politely told “Some people live aboard boats, so it’s like a house. Boat owners pay property tax”.

They will never stop dreaming up ways to fleece us.

@Dr. Jellyfinger June 1, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Yeah, you like that? My boat doesn’t have any living quarters, but I still have to pay it. I love paying taxes on the same piece of property 4 times. I’ve probably paid more taxes and fees on the boat than I paid for the boat itself at this point. I don’t use it as much anymore and Mark’s bill here might just be enough to finally push me into getting rid of it. If I’m paying property taxes on my house, and my boat is at my house, why would I be living on it?

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