A Message from DBW’s Acting Deputy Director

Welcome to California’s 2018 boating season! Our winter snow was below average, but later spring storms replenished our reservoirs just in time for the summer recreation season. Memorial Day through Labor Day is the busiest time of the year on California’s waterways, and we want to continue working together with you to encourage both life jacket wear and boater education.


Enclosed in this media kit, you will find a number resources including a news release, boating safety tips, life jacket facts, web tools, links to apps such as the BoatCA Facility Locator and Pumpout Nav, and etc. We encourage you to use the resources and share them with your customers, family and friends.


At the Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW), we look at boating accident trends to let you, the boaters, know the best ways to prevent on-the-water injuries or worse. Of concern over the past five years is the rising number of boating fatalities: from a low of 38 boater lives lost in 2013 to 53 deaths in 2017. The top three accident causes continue to be distracted drivers/operator inattention, inexperienced operators and excessive speed.

To avoid the tragic loss of life during what should be enjoyable recreation, it is critical that boaters exercise extra caution and awareness, especially as the popularity of boating grows in California. Taking a boating safety course and wearing a life jacket when on the water can greatly minimize fatal accidents.


Below are some facts on these two important boating safety tips:

  • According to Coast Guard statistics, life jacket wear could have saved 3 out of 4 lives lost in the United States. Our 2018 outreach campaign, “Save the Ones You Love”, is designed to raise awareness of the crucial need for life jacket wear.
  • In California, most recreational boat operators involved in accidents have not taken an approved boating safety course. Basic boating safety courses may be taken either online, by home study or in a classroom. Find one that works best for you. Even skilled boaters can learn something new in a short course. Passing one of these approved courses also makes you eligible for the new California Boater Card

Thank you for your partnership. If you are new to California’s recreational boating community, I invite you to connect with us and learn about DBW. Have a safe and enjoyable boating season!




Ramona Fernandez

Acting Deputy Director

Division of Boating and Waterways