Small Vessel Protocols

The Boat Operator shall:

1. Have successfully completed the Boating Safety Program Training and must adhere to all Program rules and procedures and stay current with mandatory continuing education and refresher training.

2. Be responsible for understanding and abiding by all appropriate Federal, State, Local, and SCMI policies and regulations concerning safety, trailering and launching, rules of the road, watercraft usage, Coast Guard-required equipment etc.

a. Operators of boats are liable for citations received due to the violation of the above policies and regulations

3. Be ultimately responsible for the safety of the watercraft and all aboard.

a. It is the operator’s duty to refuse to operate a vessel or trailer and/or continue an operation in progress if in his/her judgment the conditions are unsafe or if operation would be violating the precepts of SCMI training or the rules of this document.

b. Federal laws state that the operator is responsible for making sure all gear, vessel systems, and equipment required by federal regulations or that directly affect personal or vessel safety are working properly before departure.

4. Submit a verbal notification to the BSO a minimum of 48 hours in advance of the intended departure.

Failure of Compliance

1. Failure to comply with all SCMI watercraft operations procedures may result in suspension or restriction of watercraft privileges

2. Minor infractions such as neglecting to refuel, wash down the boats, complete paperwork, etc. will result in the BSO and/or Safety Office issuing a warning, restriction, or suspension of all piloting privileges.

3. Serious infractions such as non-approved solo piloting, damage to equipment as a result of neglect, unsafe operation, injuries resulting from recklessness, etc. Will result in the suspension of privileges.

Check Out Procedures

1. A boat will be considered to be checked out when the approved Boat Operator takes possession of the appropriate boat box, Transfer of the boat box or keys from one operator to another is not permitted without the prior approval of the BSO. A boat will not be checked out until the vessel operator has completed a float plan.

Check In Procedure and Closing of Float Plan

1. A boat is considered to be checked-in when it has been returned to the marina and the keys and all related equipment has been retuned in to the BSO. A float plan is closed after it has been handed to the BSO by the boat operator upon his/her return.

Authorization of Boat Operators

1. To become an authorized boat operator, one must:

    • Complete the California Department of Boating and Waterways Safety Course:
    • Comply with Boat Operator Authorization standards as follows:

• Complete the California Department of Boating and Waterways Safety Courses ( or equivalent, approved by the BSO)

• Demonstrate proficiency in the safe operation of the proposed type of boat in local conditions, as necessary

• Demonstrate proficiency in the operation of any specialty equipment and procedures specific to the boat.

• Demonstrate proficiency in trailering, launching, and recovery, as appropriate

• Sign a completed SCMI Boat Operator Check out list:

SCMI Vessel Check Out Form

2. Periodic refresher training for all boat users will be conducted, as appropriate.

Float Plan

1. Boat operators must file a float plan with a responsible shore contact prior to departure.

Maintenance of Records

1. A file for each boat and its trailer shall be kept with the BSO, including a log of maintenance.

Accident and Incident Reporting

1. If a CSULB employee is injured, workers’ compensation notification must be made immediately. Report to the SCMI Safety Office for assistance. University Safety and Risk Management must be contacted at 562-985-2283 within 8 hours of the incident.

2. All incidents and accidents involving boats, trailers, or people must be reported to the BSO within 24 hours and recorded in the boat log.

Operational Procedures/Float Plan

1. Check trailer, tow vehicle and boat before towing. Cargo in boat on trailer must not exceed rated capacities.

2. Observe the rules of the road at all times.

3. Check local marine weather reports prior to departure. Small craft advisories shall be considered on a case by case basis and consultation with the BSO is required if boat operator believes local conditions are conducive for the project.

4. Consult the appropriate navigation chart prior to departure if you are navigating waters that are new or unfamiliar. It is the responsibility of the watercraft operator to use every reasonable means to become familiar with their intended areas of operations.

5. Operator must fill out boat log before departure and upon return.

6. Wash down all surfaces and engine(s) with fresh water after every use. Wash down prior to departure as appropriate. If trailering, wash down entire trailer and flush or rinse down brakes after use.

7. Observe all safety regulations and operating procedures at all times.


9. Ensure that a MINIMUM of TWO people is present for watercraft operations. Solo piloting of the Whaler may be permitted with the appropriate prior approvals; see “Solo Piloting”, below.

Special Operations

1. Solo Piloting

    • Solo Piloting at sea beyond 1.0 miles from shore is never permitted. 
    • All passengers are required to wear PFDs while underway
    •  Solo Pilots are required to monitor the Marine Radio (VHF) and carry a charged cell phone and handheld GPS at all times. 

2. Scuba Diving  contact OSI Dive Safety Officer Jim Cvitanovich (310) 519-3172 est. 975 

    •  Solo diving is not permitted.
    •  Divers must:

• Be fully approved participants in the OSI Diving Program

• Follow all Policies and procedures of the OSI Dive Safety Manual:

OSI Dive Safety Manual

• Divers entering the water from boats must ensure that a third party remains on the boat even when it is securely anchored.

• The third party must be competent in the use of all boating emergency systems such as the Marine Radio, cell phone, GPS, flares etc.

3. Trailering 

    •  To become qualified to tow a boat and trailer, the operator or designated driver must:

• Demonstrate to the BSO or his/her designee the proper procedures for towing the boat and trailer over the road.

• Demonstrate proper launching and retrieval of the boat from the trailer to the water

• If the operator intends on using his/her personal vehicle for towing, a valid Form 261 (Appendix V) must be on file with the appropriate Department Office.