First Day of Summer – Start Safety on the Water

The summer season has arrived which means families are kicking off summer-long trips and celebrations, most of which include our local waterways. The Sacramento Police Department wants to remind everyone to make smart choices while enjoying the water. Stay safe yet have fun.

As you beat the heat on our beautiful waterways this summer consider the following safety tips:

New boating laws

As of January 1, 2018, the mandatory boating safety education law goes into effect, and will be phased in by age. If you operate any type of motorized vessel on California waterways (including powered sailboats/paddle craft), you will be required to pass an approved boating safety examination and carry a lifetime California Boater Card.

Life jackets

Every person on your boat must have a life jacket that is easily accessible. Children under 12 must wear them at all times while in a boat. Additionally, any child under 13 swimming in public waters must have a life jacket on at all times. All people on personal watercraft must wear them as well. They are recommended to be worn by everyone, even people playing along the shoreline

Personal Watercraft rules

If you are within 200 feet from a beach and 100 feet from swimmers, you must operate at no more than 5mph. To operate a personal watercraft alone you must be 16 years old; 12-15 years old if you have someone 18 or older riding with you. Personal watercraft cannot be operated after sunset.

Speed limits

The speed limit for all areas of the American River is 5 mph. It is also 5 mph through the Old Sacramento area and by any marina.


The same rules as driving apply for boating DUI’s. You can drink inside of a boat that is in the water, however it is not encouraged. Alcohol is not allowed along the beach/shore areas. And remember, cold water and hot sun can affect you more when you are drinking. Drink responsibly and designate a sober driver.

Be safe out there! Enjoy summer and our beautiful waterways with your family and friends and start water safety now.