Starting in 2018 California State Parks' Division of Boating and Waterways will require anyone 20 years old or younger to get a California Vessel Operator Card, which is similar to a driver's license for boating. By 2025 everyone, regardless of age, will be required to have an operating card. The Division of Boating and Waterways still has a lot to decide when it comes to what the exact license test will entail and how much it will cost.
David Ingles, general manager at Blue Pacific Boating, thinks requiring operator cards is a good start. But requirements for renting, buying and driving boats could go further.