New York Boating Laws and Regulations

Age and Operator Restrictions

A person at least 10 years old and born on or after May 1, 1996, may operate a recreational boat (other than a PWC) only if he or she:

  • Has passed a boating safety course approved by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and carries the New York State Boating Safety Certificate on board or…
  • Is accompanied on board by a person 18 years of age or older who either has a New York State Boating Safety Certificate on board or is not required to have a certificate.

A person at least 14 years old may operate a PWC only if he or she:

  • Has passed a boating safety course approved by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and…
  • Carries the New York State Boating Safety Certificate on board the PWC or is accompanied on board the PWC by a person 18 years of age or older who holds a New York State Boating Safety Certificate.

No person under the age of 14 may operate a PWC.

New York State Parks Adventure License Program

After successfully completing this course, you can choose to have your certification noted, as an anchor icon, on your NY driver’s license or other identification document issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The advantage is that you will no longer need to carry your boating safety certificate with you when boating, as long as you have your driver’s license with you. For more information, go to New York’s Adventure License webpage.

Enforcement

New York 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.”)

Get Certified Online!

Take this New York–approved course to complete your online boating safety education.

New York Boating safety education card Lifetime Card

two exam attempts

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

Frequently Asked Questions