NYS Boater Safety Law, Effective 1/1/2020
NYS has passed a Boater Safety Law that affects everyone operating a motor boat, effective 1/1/2020.
In summary, the law requires all operators of any type of motor boat to pass a boating safety course, and carry a Permanent Certificate.
The law will be phased in as follows:
Those born on or after Jan. 1, 1993 will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2020.
Those born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2022.
Those born on or after Jan. 1, 1983 will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2023.
Those born on or after Jan. 1, 1978 will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2024.
All motor boat operators regardless of age will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2025.
An article on the law, questions and answers, and course availability below.
Boating safety courses (available in a regular 8 hour classroom or online) are managed by New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Click for a classroom course near you.
For online classes:
America’s Boating Club (formerly known as US Power Squadron) Spanish online course available
There may be fees for the course, contact the course instructor. The NYS Certificate costs $10, there’s no charge for ages 10 (the minimum age to drive a motorized craft in New York) to 17. New York State only issues a boating safety certificate to persons that have successfully completed a NYS classroom course.
Additional information can be found on the DEC website. For more information about online safety courses.
New York State issues a boating safety certificate to those that have successfully completed a NYS classroom course. State Parks doesn't have records of boater safety courses taken prior to the early 1990s, If your name isn't in the database you'll need to take the class again.
If you have lost your certificate and completed an in-classroom course endorsed by the state, a written application (downloadable online) must be completed and mailed to State Parks; the cost is $10.
State Parks is not able to provide duplicates of boating safety certificates for online courses and those given by the US Power Squadron and US Coast Guard Auxiliary. Those providers need to be contacted directly.
A boater can use their boating safety course certificate from another state provided it is issued from your current state of residence, and the course was approved by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators. Look for the NASBLA logo on your certificate.
If you are at least 18 years old, you may rent a boat without completing a course. The rental business should demonstrate how to properly use the boat before renting it. Those under age 18 may only rent a motorboat if they hold a safety certificate.
The new law doesn't change the regulations regarding jet skis; the operator must be at least age 14 and hold a safety certificate.
Electric motors are classified as motorized craft. Operators are required to take a boater safety course.
Sailboats, kayaks, standup paddleboards, rowboats, canoes and any other watercraft without a motor are not required to take a safety course.
The 120-day, grace period for new motor boat buyers no longer exists; you will need a safety certificate.
For more, see the state Parks website.