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San Diego Lifeguards enforcing boating safety

Everyone 45 years old and younger must have a California Boater Card. The new rule went into effect this year.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Memorial Day weekend kicks off the unofficial start of summer. This year the San Diego Lifeguards will have an increased focus on boating safety and enforcement.

Sergeant Rick Strobel with the San Diego Lifeguards made sure visitors understood boating rules at Mission Bay Sunday.

"There's no limit to the number of boats that can be put on Mission Bay and there's no fee that's charged to launch your boat at launch ramps," Strobel said. "What that leads to is a very diverse crowd out on Mission Bay with a lot of boats."

More often than not, he says people don't know the rules. Starting this year, everyone 45 years old and younger must have a California Boater Card. Getting caught without one can be expensive

"If you're pulled over and you don't have a boater card your vessel will be impounded," Strobel said. 

Sergeant Strobel said a boat impounded on Sunday wouldn't be allowed to be picked up until Tuesday and fees would end up costing more than $500. 

Double check that you have your boat registration, life jackets and a fire extinguisher on board. It's also important to know the same laws for driving under the influence apply to boating. The blood alcohol limit is still 0.08.

"Remember when you're out on the water stressors like the wind, sun and waves will magnify the effects of alcohol," Strobel said.

If you're looking to rent a boat, he said it must be from a permitted brick and mortar shop on Mission Bay. Renting through Facebook marketplace, OfferUp or other websites is illegal. He said it's important to make sure any friends you're with, who use your boat, understand the rules.

"If you're going to let someone use your vessel you need to educate them and make sure they know everything you know. It's all about public safety here and all about reducing the boating accidents on Mission Bay and keeping the public safe," Strobel said.

WATCH RELATED: Memorial Day events across San Diego (May 30, 2022)


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