Boater Card on Boat


What is the process to have a boating safety course approved by California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) in order to become a course provider for the California Boater Card Program?

There is a four-step process for a course and exam provider to become an “approved provider” in California: Providers with a current NASBLA and State certifications can take up to 30 days to be approved. Providers who need a NASBLA and State certification can take up to a year to be approved.


  1. Complete the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) process for national approval. For NASBLA approval, follow the procedures outlined here.
  2. Still working within the NASBLA framework, complete DBW course content approval. California approval is the second part of the NASBLA approval process.
  3. Understand and complete a California Boater Card (CBC) Data Compliance Agreement.
  4. Complete a CBC application including contact information, a copy of your current NASBLA/California certification letter (and any previous letter verifying approval since January 1, 2015) and copies of your current course certificate and/or card. An application can be found on our Website.

What will the California Boater Card Data Compliance Agreement include?

Boating safety course providers shall agree to collect the student DBW-issued Application ID number and provide it to DBW in the required format and within the timeframe established by DBW:  This information shall be in an uploadable format such as Excel; the course provider shall upload the requested data into the database.

When should a course provider apply for the California Boater Card data compliance?

A course provider may begin the application process after July 1, 2017.

When should a course provider complete a California Boater Card course provider application?

Once the course provider has completed their NASBLA and State certifications and the CBC Data Compliance Agreement.

My course is already listed on the Boater Card website, do I still need to complete the application process?

Yes, courses currently posted on the CBC website meet the grandfathering requirements of the CBC and course providers still need to complete and submit the CBC Data Requirements and the CBC application.

Will DBW host a provider webinar about the CBC program, technical aspects of the data compliance agreement and the application?

Yes, Thursday, June 1, 2017. DBW will contact you about times and details.

What information about the CBC must course providers provide on their websites to avoid confusion about the Boater Card?

Currently on some course provider’s website, there is confusing information that assumes that a provider-issued card or certificate is the CBC. DBW will provide appropriate language to be included on your websites to help clarify that the course completion card/certificate does not take the place of a California Boater Card.

Once the CBC program begins, if a boater initially starts the process at the provider’s website before applying for a CBC, how should a course provider respond?

Course providers shall provide instructions and a link to the CBC webpage for boaters to apply for the CBC and receive their Application ID number. Then boaters can continue with the safety course and exam.

What if a boater wants to take their course first and apply and pay for the card later?

Course providers will need to accommodate this option by providing the boater a certificate of completion or any other “proof” of passing their course. The boater will use Application Process B to obtain their CBC.

Who should you contact if you have questions about the course provider’s application process?

Bria Miller,; 916-327-0179