Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tips on Boating in California Waters

Boating is always fun and refreshing. However, you should know that boating is a highly regulated recreational activity in California. So, don’t be alarmed when a law enforcement officer suddenly ask you to lie and inspect your boat for compliance with California boating laws. Remember, as a boat operator, you have the responsibility of ensuring the safety of all passengers and this includes making certain all required safety equipment is onboard the boat and all the necessary documents are always in order.

Even if your water vessel is previously registered in your state, you must still register in California within 120 days of being brought into the state.

The term vessel applies to every description of watercraft used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water, except the following:
• A seaplane on the water.
• A watercraft specifically designed to operate on a permanently fixed course and guided by a mechanical device that restricts the watercraft's movement to the fixed course.
• A floating structure that is designed and built to be used as a stationary waterborne residential dwelling, which, (a) does not have and is not designed to have a mode of power of its own, (b) is dependent for utilities upon a continuous utility linkage to a source originating on shore, and (c) has a permanent, continuous hookup to a shoreside sewage system.
Also, it is mandated by the state of California's laws that any vessel that is used or moored on California waterways, including private lakes, must be registered. However, as with all other licensing rules, there are some exceptions. The following vessels do not have to be registered in California:
• Vessels propelled solely by oars or paddles.
• Non motorized sailboats that are eight feet or less in length.
• A ship’s lifeboat (a dinghy is not a lifeboat).
• Vessels currently and lawfully numbered (registered) by another state that are principally used outside California.
• Vessels brought into California for racing purposes only (exempted only during races and tune-ups).
Additional requirement must be met by commercial vessels of five net tons or more, or 30 feet or more in length. As for these vessels, they must be documented by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Remember the above rules and you will have no problems plowing to the clear California waters.