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Boater education course required for some in the new year

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REDDING, Calif. - The Shasta County Sheriff's Office is reminding boaters that starting on January 1, 2018, there is a new boating requirement for 16-20 year olds. The Shasta County Sheriff's Office Boating Safety Division says education is the only way to prevent bad things from happening on the water. 

The law will require boaters between those ages to have taken an approved boater education course and possess a California Boater Card while operating a vessel on California waterways. 

"It's going to give them some education and maybe some things they don't know about. They may learn something that will save their life or someone else's life," Sergeant Sandbloom with the Shasta County Sheriff's Office stated.

Sandbloom explained he sees a lot happen out on Shasta County rivers and lakes. In the last year there were five deaths on Shasta Lake, three were children under the age of 12. 

While people may not be on the lake in January, the Sacramento River is busy with fishermen and other boaters. Sandbloom said patrolling by boat allows deputies to exercise proactive policing. 

The California State Park Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) is now accepting applications for the California Boater Card. The card verifies that its holder has successfully taken and passed an approved boater safety education course. 

The law will be phased in by age, by 2025 everyone hoping to use a motorized vessel on California waters will be required to have the card. Unlike a driver's license, the California Boater Card last a lifetime and cannot be revoked. It is $10. 

DBW noted that California is one of the last states to implement some sort of mandatory boating education requirement. Out-of-state visitors who wish to rent a boat will not be required to have the card. However, states like Oregon already require a boater safety card for their residents.

For a list of approved California boating courses, visit the California Boater Website. Free booklets on the boating safety courses are available at the Shasta County Sheriff's Office at 300 Park Marina Circle or at the SCSO Boating Safety Unit at Bridge Bay Marina.

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