Motorboat Operator Training Course (MOTC)

The Scientific Boating Safety Association’s (SBSA) Motorboat Operator Training Course (MOTC) is entry-level training recommended for persons who will be acting as small vessel operator or crew for SBSA member institutions or other organizations. CSU/OSI (an SBSA Organizational Member) has adopted this course as the foundation for our small boat training program.

Designed for candidates with no prior boating experience, the MOTC is an intensive 5-day, “hands-on” course that provides fundamental training in boating knowledge. During the course, boaters learn about boating regulations, use of personal protective equipment, rescue skills, small boat operations and safe boating practices. Upon completion of the course, participants will receive their MOTC certification, which is the current training standard for scientific organizations with active boating programs. This course is free for CSU/OSI consortium students and staff.

The MOTC, and a valid California Boater Card, are the minimum requirements to operate a small vessel for members of the CSU/OSI and SCMI consortiums and students participating in the Catalina Semester course.

Be advised that your home institution may require additional training in local knowledge, vessel characteristics, regional and local regulations, and agency policies, as necessary.

Course Dates and Fees


PLEASE NOTE: applications must include a copy of your California Boater Card (see Prerequisites below) incomplete applications will not be accepted.


MOTC Session 1: June 3-7, application deadline May 3, 2024
MOTC Session 2: July 15-19, application deadline June 14, 2024

Please Note: The number of participants is limited to a maximum of six per course offering; a minimum of three participants are required to run a course.

Applicants will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis, in the following order:
CSU Graduate Students/Staff; CSU Undergraduate Students; SCMI Consortium Members;
Other Qualified Applicants.

Cost: Free for CSU/OSI consortium members

$250 for SCMI consortium members participating on a “space available” basis for a scheduled CSU/OSI course

$500 for All other qualified applicants participating on a “space available” basis for a scheduled CSU/OSI course
If your organization is interested in scheduling a course for their staff on a contract basis, please contact the SCMI office.

Please note: When conducting cooperative training with other SBSA Institutional Members, CSU/OSI will waive course fees for candidates if the home institution provides a qualified instructor and vessel

MOTC Application Forms

Prerequisite For The Course:

  • California Boater Card – Starting January 1, 2018, California law will require boaters to carry the California Boater Card. The curriculum for this NASBLA-approved certification is outside the current scope of the MOTC. There are a number of resources, such as, which offer online courses for a nominal fee that will satisfy this course prerequisite.

Required Items For The Course:

  • Swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Pen, Paper, etc. for taking notes
  • Personal Flotation Device – USCG Type III PFD
    • If your home institution can’t supply this item, we may be able to provide one (inventory is limited, so this will be on a first-come, first-served basis).
  • Closed-toe, non-skid shoes appropriate for boat decks

Recommended Items For The Course:

  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Small Dry Bag
  • Foul Weather Gear

SBSA Instructors

Darrell Montague (SBSA Lead Instructor), Dive and Boat Safety Officer for the Ocean Studies Institute, has been working in the dive industry for 17 years as a Divemaster and Instructor. Prior to his current position, he was Dive Safety Officer for the California Science Center Foundation, overseeing exhibit, youth education, and open water diving, as well as boat operations. He has also trained divers for the California Institute of Technology, and acted as Dive Safety Officer and expedition medic on remote dive operations for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, National Geographic, and several film and television productions.

FAQ About the MOTC

Questions should be directed to Darrell Montague, OSI Dive and Boat Safety Officer

820 South Seaside Avenue, Terminal Island, CA 90731

Cell: (626) 399-3308; SCMI: (562) 985-3176