Sacramento, California's scenic rivers and waterways offer a fantastic setting for a boat rental business. Whether you're starting a new venture or expanding an existing one, it's vital to navigate the regulatory landscape and secure the necessary permits. This guide offers insights into the permits required to operate a boat rental business in Sacramento.

We emphasize strict adherence to both local and federal regulations for boat operators. While we provide essential information to assist you in launching your business, conducting your independent research is advisable. Keep in mind that rules and regulations may undergo changes, and staying informed will ensure your business remains compliant and operates seamlessly.

Boat/Vessel Registration

In order to legally operate your boat or vessel on California waterways, you must register it with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This applies to all sailboats over eight feet in length and all motorized boats, regardless of size.

Insurance Requirements

If you are looking to operate captained or bareboat charters in Sacramento, you will need to have commercial insurance. Boat Charter Insurance, can help you obtain the required coverage efficiently. Please reach out to them for assistance in securing the right insurance for your charter operations in Sacramento.

Captain License

To operate charter vessels legally, captains must hold a valid US Coast Guard license that corresponds to the size and type of vessel they command. A 6-pack license is mandatory for vessels carrying up to six passengers, while vessels with more than six passengers require a Master Captain's license. As the captain, it is their paramount responsibility to ensure the safety of both the charter vessel and all passengers on board. For more information on captain's licenses, please visit the Mariners Learning System website.

Boater's Education Certificate:

Ensure compliance with boating education requirements. In California, individuals under 20 years old need a Boater's Education Certificate to operate a motorized vessel. For more information on how to apply and required courses, visit the California Boater Card website.

Berth License Application - Sacramento Marina

  • People who want a berth license (permission to use a specific space for their boat) must fill out an application provided by the Sacramento Marina.

Berth Assignment

  • No one can park their boat in the Sacramento Marina without first getting a monthly or temporary berth license agreement from the Director for a specific parking space (berth).
  • Unauthorized parking is not allowed. The Director has the authority to move, secure, or impound any boat parked without permission, and the owner will be charged for any related fees.

Berth Issuance

  • The license agreement must be signed by both the licensee (boat owner) and the Director.
  • Before getting the license agreement, the boat owner must provide documentation such as the vessel's certificate of documentation or registration, and proof of protection and indemnity insurance.

Passenger Pick Up/ Drop Off:

Numerous locations facilitate boat drop-offs and pickups for rentals, and here are a few that have specifically designated passenger areas. Prior to confirming your arrangements, ensure to check the pickup and drop-off guidelines with the marina or dock.

  • Discovery Park Boat Launch in Sacramento, CA
  • West Sacramento Waterfront: Located on Riverfront St West Sacramento, CA 95691