143035_DBW Course_r3

Chapter 2 X Boating Law, Navigational Rules and Navigational Aids

Once registered, the boat registration numbers must be purchased and displayed properly. ƒ The figures must read left to right. ƒ They must be displayed on the forward half of the starboard (right) and port (left) sides of the boat.


Personal watercraft are boats, not toys, and are subject to the same registration and equipment laws as recreational boats.

ƒ Numbers must be in plain, block letters. ƒ Numbers must be at least three inches high.

ƒ Numbers must be light-colored on dark backgrounds—or dark-colored on light backgrounds—and must be easy to see, and as high above the waterline as possible. ƒ No number other than the number assigned can be displayed on the forward half of the vessel. ƒ Letters must be separated from the numbers by spaces or hyphens. ƒ Registration stickers must be displayed three inches away from the number and toward the rear of the boat.


Because of the size and shape of some models of personal watercraft or other boats, it may be difficult to apply registration numbers so that they’re easy to see. If in doubt, check with local authorities for proper size and placement.



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WEBSITE Scan the QR code to visit the U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Documentation Web page.



Documenting a Boat Californians can document their boats with the Coast Guard. Larger boats meeting Coast Guard guidelines can be given a documentation number by the Coast Guard. Documentation is a form of national registration and is useful for boats taken into international waters or other countries. Documented vessels must have their name and hailing port printed on the stern, above the waterline. In California, a documented vessel may not be registered by the state. For more information about this process, contact the Coast Guard.


California Course for Safe Boating

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