New Jersey Boating Laws and Regulations

Age and Operator Restrictions

All operators must meet these age and education requirements in order to operate a motorized vessel.

  • A person less than 13 years of age may not operate a motorized vessel.
  • A person under the age of 16 may not operate a PWC.
  • A person 13 through 15 years of age may operate a vessel powered by an electric motor or vessels 12 feet or longer and powered by a motor less than 10 hp only if he or she has successfully passed a boating safety education course approved by the New Jersey State Police.
  • A person 16 years old or older, may operate a motorized vessel if they have successfully completed an approved boating safety course.

If you reside in New Jersey you must have a New Jersey certificate, even if you took a NASBLA-approved course in another state.

Enforcement

New Jersey law enforcement officers patrol the waterways to make your boating experience safe and pleasant. Cooperate with them by following the laws and guidelines.

Carry the Card: Vessel operators who are required to have a Boater Education Card must carry the card on board the vessel and have it available for inspection by an enforcement officer.

Penalty: Not carrying your Boater Education Card when one is required can result in a fine.

Reciprocity

For visiting boaters, all states, territories, and provinces will recognize boating education cards that meet NASBLA requirements and Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator Cards that meet Transport Canada’s requirements. (This is known as “reciprocity.”)

Need help? Here are the answers to the questions New Jersey Boating students most frequently ask.

Frequently Asked Questions