Is boat insurance required in California? Laws for boating in California

Is boat insurance required in California? As Californians, we’re used to living in a state with an endless coastline and beautiful weather. So it’s no surprise that many of us are interested in sailing our boats down the Pacific Ocean. But before you take the plunge, be sure to do your research; yacht insurance is a big commitment, and not all policies are equal.

Is boat insurance required in California? Laws for boating in California

Is boat insurance required in California? Laws for boating in California

To ensure your boat is adequately insured, it’s important to investigate its insurance status. In this post, Scott Ewart will explain what boat insurance covers and laws for boating in California. Besides, there is a lot of helpful information in this blog. Now, let’s start!

Is boat insurance required in California?

Is boat insurance required in California?

Is boat insurance required in California?

California is among the states that do not require boat owners to possess a minimum level of insurance. However, it is necessary for users of most marinas to park their vessels with them and present proof that they are covered by some form of insurance.

In addition, if you purchased your boat with the help of a loan, the business may require you to carry a certain minimum level of insurance coverage.  You have to do that until you have paid off the loan in full.

Laws for boating in California

Laws for boating in California

Laws for boating in California

In recent years, California has put in place a lot of boating rules to make sure people have a good time on the water. Here are some of their most salient points:

Rule about a life jacket or PFD

One of the most commonly overlooked potentialities of boating is the risk of injury. Any form of boating, whether it’s a leisurely cruise or an expedition to an uncharted destination, can pose a threat.

Boater should prepare life jackets or PFD before stepping aboard your vessel. This provides an essential layer of protection against immersion.

A life jacket includes a hood and a hydration pack. The hood may be neoprene protecting the head from the water. The hydration pack may be insulated.


The State of California requires all ships over 16 feet in length (excluding canoes and kayaks) to carry a wearable life jacket. Besides, they are required an easy-to-grab throwing device for each passenger. People on these boats should always have easy access to life-saving tools that have been approved by the Coast Guard.

Age requirement

  • 12-15 years old: In the state of California, boaters who are between the ages of 12 and 15 must be accompanied by an adult supervisor who is at least 18 years old. The purpose is that he/she operate any motor-powered watercraft with more than 15 horsepower.
  • 16 years old or older: They are allowed to operate any motor-powered vessel with more than 15 horsepower without the supervision of an adult.


As you can see, there are many regulations that apply to boating in California. If you’re not familiar with all of them, it’s important to consult with a knowledgeable professional before taking your vessel out on the open sea.

California DMV offices across the state will gladly take on registration for any watercraft. You’ll receive a set of registration stickers: an official Certificate of Title and one more that certifies ownership. In addition, other regular documentation are included. Owners should always keep their titles well secured, as they may be asked at some point to provide proof that it no longer belongs to them. In this case, the application form for transfer!

To safeguard your California boating experience, it is essential to have comprehensive coverage. Taking smart steps to keep everyone safe and making sure that everyone is well covered in case of an emergency. You can make sure that your trip on the water is safe!

Boating under the influence (BUI)

The penalties associated with a BUI conviction are severe. They may face jail time and monetary fines.

Boating Under the Influence, or BUI, affects judgment, vision, balance and coordination. These impairments can increase the risk of being involved in a boating accident—for both passengers and boat operators. Alcohol is a contributing factor in about a third of all recreational boating fatalities.


Anybody intoxicated by alcohol or drugs is prohibited from operating a watercraft or towing equipment. A boater will be assumed to be intoxicated if their blood alcohol level is 0.08% or higher. When a person’s blood alcohol content is between 0.05% and 0.08%, this information can be used with other evidences. This will figure out if they were driving while drunk.

Anyone under the age of 21 is prohibited from consuming alcohol when boating. The are not allowed to operate any watercraft with an alcohol content (BAC) level over zero tolerance.

If you’re operating a vessel and feel intoxicated, it’s crucial that you don’t compromise your judgment. Don’t let your passion for boating cloud over into recklessness.

Number Certificate

Number Certificate

Number Certificate

Before a vessel can be deployed in state waters, its owner must possess at least a temporary Certificate of Title. Permanent document has been signed and affixed to the craft’s hull (or possibly stowed aboard). They should remain there permanently after its acquisition.

Your certificate number should be written in big, three-inch-high block letters on both sides of the bow. These letters shouldn’t match the color scheme or theme of your boat. There should also be a space between each letter and number. All of them are important if you want to follow these rules!

Non-native aquatic species

Recreational boaters may transport non-native aquatic species. They can stick to propellers, intakes, or hulls. They can lead to the blockage of waterways, hindering the navigation of boats.

Before leaving any body of water, inspect all boat surfaces and destroy aquatic flora and fauna to prevent non-native species. Remove plant debris from good bait; throw the bait in the trash can on land. Wash your ship before launching.

Boat insurance cost in California

Boat insurance cost in California

Boat insurance cost in California

When it comes to yacht insurance, the price you’re quoted will typically reflect the level of coverage you require. For instance, a policy that only covers damages to the vessel itself may cost less than one that includes comprehensive coverage. Depending on your location, you may also be required to pay for navigational hazards and other extras, such as collision insurance.

California’s average annual boat insurance premium is estimated to be $348.00. It provides you with peace of mind at a much more economical rate than the aforementioned quote. However, there are factors affecting the cost of boat insurance, such as:

  • Type of boat: a larger boat will typically incur higher premiums than a smaller one. The differences between boat types insured (e.g., speedboat, fishing boat, cabin cruiser, yacht, etc.)
  • Age of the vessel: a newer boat will generally have lower rates than an older one.
  • Location of the vessel: a yacht registered in coastal waters may have different rates than one registered inland.
  • Propulsion system: boats with outboard engines may be more expensive to insure than those with gasoline engines.
  • Your boat’s age, value, length, and engine size
  • You’re on-and-off-water driving record and claim history

Things that boat insurance cover in California

Things that boat insurance cover in California

Things that boat insurance cover in California


Body injury liability is a part of your boat insurance that can help pay for medical bills if someone gets hurt on your boat.

Accidents affecting boating and personal watercraft operations can be an unforeseen risk. So it’s wise to secure insurance coverage for protection. With boat and PWC insurance, you are ensured that any mishap won’t leave you financially vulnerable—even if your negligence is at fault.

Accident cleanup and coverage for fuel spills

When you operate the boat, you unfortunately sink into the sea. So, does boat insurance cover sinking? California law says that you have to have boat insurance to pay for any damage that might happen, like cleaning up a fuel spill. This type of coverage can help pay for the costs of repairing your boat, replacing any damaged property,… However, there are also some exception cases.

Damage to property liability

In California, you are responsible for any damage you cause to another person or their property if you hurt them or their property. Property damage liability covers repairs to other boats, PWCs, and docks if you cause a boating accident.

Loss and physical damage

This insurance plan can help pay for the cost of fixing or replacing your boat or PWC if it gets damaged or goes missing while you are in charge of it.

If you want more detailed information about boat insurance and its policy, read on to learn what is covered by boat insurance. However, there are some exceptions to what does boat insurance not cover. We should pay attention to factors to consider before making a buying decision.

FAQs Is boat insurance required in California?

Is insurance required for a boat trailer in California?

Even boat insurance-required states don’t require trailer insurance. If you don’t have boat and trailer insurance and your boat trailer is damaged, you may be liable.

Does boat insurance cover the boat falling off the trailer?

All physical damage to the boat while on the trailer is covered by the boat insurance policy. However, if you are renting a boat from a marina and doing your own upkeep, it is possible that the rental company will not have insurance on the boat. In this case, you would need personal liability insurance to cover any damages you cause while using the boat.

Does boat insurance cover dock hits?

Some insurers offer dock coverage, but most don’t. Fire, lightning, windstorms, and hail may be covered by your house insurance if the dock is on your property.

Do you require insurance to tow a trailer?

Nevertheless, coverage for a towed item is not required. Yet, if you don’t have insurance and get into an accident while towing your caravan or trailer, the costs could be high.


Make sure your boat is adequately insured before heading out on the open seas. There are some cases that require boat insurance in California. Your agent can help you choose a policy that meets your needs.

Boat insurance is an important part because it protects against anything unexpected that could happen while on the boat. To make sure you don’t lose your peace of mind, buy insurance from a reputable company that sells policies that are made for boating. Thank you for reading our post from!


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