For Immediate Release

Friday, November 09, 2007

California Passes Emissions-Based Registration Law for Recreational Boats

Law Ties New Boat Registration with Engine Emissions Compliance

Chicago, IL

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) approved a new law on October 13 that, when implemented on July 1, 2008, will require the purchaser or retail seller of a new boat equipped with up to a 500 horsepower (hp), gasoline powered sterndrive or inboard engine to meet the state’s engine emissions requirements. Under the legislation, A.B. 695, purchasers or sellers of recreational boats that meet these requirements must provide the California Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) documentation that the engine meets the appropriate emission requirements.  Engines greater than 500 hp will be required to comply starting January 1, 2009.

“The NMMA worked closely with the Southern California Marine Association (SCMA) to lobby for passage of this new law,” said Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).  “This demonstrates a commitment by businesses and boaters to promote clean emission technology that will offer substantial air quality benefits to boaters and the public at large.”

The new law is designed to prevent Californians from purchasing a recreational boat outside the state with a non-compliant engine to circumvent the new emissions requirement and is similar to its vehicle registration requirements. 

“For example, if you purchased and registered a boat with a 600 hp (greater than 500 hp) engine in August 2008, you would have no additional registration requirement,” said John McKnight, director of environmental and safety compliance for NMMA.  “The requirement for engines greater than 500 hp does not kick in until January 1, 2009. If you purchased a new vessel with a 260 hp engine (less than 500 hp), you would have to comply with the new registration requirements anytime after July 1, 2008.”  

The law has specific requirements for submitting initial applications to the California DMV. The DMV form will be revised to include instructions for the boat dealer and purchaser to check off certain boxes to self-certify that the engine is in compliance with California emission requirements.

“The retail seller and/or purchaser will be required to submit the engine emission hang tag with the application. These hang tags are required by California law to be on new engines at the time of sale,” McKnight added. 

The law excludes vessels originally purchased in another state by a resident of that state who moves to California and can provide satisfactory evidence of previously having an out of state residence. The penalties for non-compliance under the new law are the same as the penalties for operating an unregistered vessel, which are set at a $250 fine.
For more information on the new requirement, please visit or contact John McKnight at (202) 737-9757;


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