This article is focused on the New York boating laws and the newly introduced, Brianna’s Law. New York State is packed full of beautiful waterways from the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound to the Adirondacks and Finger Lakes, and dozens more. New York does have a boater education law that mandates operators of boats and personal watercraft complete an approved course. In addition, operators of motorboats are required to successfully complete a course focused on operating a motorboat, if born after 5/1/96. This law was put into effect in 2014 and stands today.
BOATING EDUCATION LAW
New York, along with many other states, does not require a boating license to operate watercraft. There is a requirement, however, to obtain a boating safety certificate. Your certificate can come from a New York State Safe Boating Classroom Course, or an approved course from the Coast Guard, Power Squadron, or U.S. Powerboating. In-person and online courses are accepted. These rules apply to personal watercraft; anyone operating a commercial-type vehicle must adhere to a different set of rules. If you are from out-of-state and operating watercraft in New York, your state’s boating safety certification will be recognized.
Under the new law, labeled Brianna’s Law, there is a new requirement for motorboat operators. Here is the breakdown:
- Born after January 1st, 1993 – will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2020
- Born after January 1st, 1988 – will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2022
- Born after January 1st, 1983 – will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2023
- Born after January 1st, 1978 – will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2024
- All motorized vessel operators need a boating safety certificate by January 1, 2025, regardless of age.
There are a few different ways to complete a safety class. The first is in-classroom instruction offered by a number of providers, including the New York Boating Safety (Lower Hudson and Long Island), Finger Lakes Boating Museum (Finger Lakes Region), NY Boat School (Lower Hudson, Long Island and NYC), NY Boating College (Lower Hudson), Safe Boating America (Buffalo, Lower Hudson, Long Island and NYC), SUNY Maritime College (Lower Hudson, Long Island and NYC), and Instruct NY (Westchester, Long Island and NYC).
For online courses, as mentioned above, the course must be either Coast Guard, Power Squadron, or Powerboating-approved.
If you’re not operating watercraft in New York State, check the U.S. Power Squadron’s interactive map of boating laws and licenses for your state.