New York State Legal Requirements
Youths who are at least 10 but less than 18 years of age may not operate a motor boat without adult supervision unless the
youth holds a boating safety certificate issued by New York State Parks, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or the U.S. Power
for having completed a an 8-hour classroom based course of instruction.
Youths under 18 years of age may operate a motor boat when accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older.
Operators may not operate a Personal Watercraft (JetSki, SeaDoo, etc.) unless they are at least 14 years of age and hold a
boater safety certificate issued by State Parks, the USCG Auxiliary or the US Power Squadron for having completed a an 8-hour
classroom based course of instruction.
A person without a safety certificate may operate a PWC when accompanied by someone over 18 years of age who is the holder of
a boater safety certificate. For the purposes of this section, "accompanied" shall mean upon the same PWC.
A boating safety certificate issued to a resident of another state or country is acceptable provided the certificate is carried
while operating in New York State. Please note the certificate must be issued by the state or country of residence, and should be
New York Safe Boating Course
This course is designed as a comprehensive boating safety course, teaching the fundamentals of safe boating operation and has
been approved by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).
- This course requires a minimum of 8 hours of classroom instruction.
- Students must pass a final exam with a score of 76%.
- Courses are available throughout the state. The course listing is updated regularly.
- You must register for a course by calling the contact number provided.
- An instructor may or may not charge a fee for the course. If a fee is charged, they may vary. Some courses may be taught by
volunteers free of charge.
- Students will receive a temporary boating safety certificate upon completion of the course.
- Students 18 years of age and older will be required to pay a $10 fee to NYS for issuance of a permanent boating safety
- Permanent boating safety certificates do not expire.
A copy of the second edition of the "New York Safe Boating Textbook:
A Course on the Safe Operation of Boats and Personal Watercraft" can be downloaded to your computer, phone, or tablet. Hard copy textbooks will be available at the
class for those who would like one. We are encouraging our students to be green by using the electronic copy of the textbook.
Let your instructor know at the time of registration if you will be using an electronic textbook.
Instructors for New York Safe boating Course
New instructors are needed to teach the New York Safe Boating course to youths and adults. New York State Parks & Recreation
provides textbooks, lesson plans and audio-visual materials for all instructors.
To become a NY State certified safe boating instructor you must:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Pass a criminal background check
- Successfully complete the New York Safe Boating Course or be a graduate of the New York State Marine Law Enforcement Course.
- Be able to demonstrate an ability to instruct by currently holding a NYS Teachers Certificate, teaching certificate for other
professional courses, or assist in the instruction of four New York Safe Boating Courses.
- Attend a seminar entitled "Introduction to the New York Safe Boating Course"
- Be familiar with safe boating practices by passing the "Instructor Knowledge Exam"
For more information, or to begin the certification process, please call (518) 474-0445
Special Note for Suffolk County Residents
The Suffolk County Legislature has passed the Suffolk's Safer Waterways Act which will go into effect on November 6, 2013. This
law requires that residents of Suffolk County who operate a pleasure vessel on any waters of Suffolk County to hold a boating
According to the Suffolk County law: "A boating safety certificate may be issued by the New York State Office of Parks,
Recreation and Historic Preservation (New York Safe Boating Course), by the United State Power Squadron, United States Coast Guard
Auxiliary; or any entity that offers a boating course that meets the standard set by the National Association of State Boating Law
Suffolk county residents may complete any course allowed by Suffolk County. However please note that the course requirements
may vary from that under New York State Law. Boaters will at all times be required to meet the requirements under New York State
Law where applicable. New York State law supersedes the Suffolk County law.
Suffolk County residents are reminded that state law still applies in regard to boating education in Suffolk County,
specifically §49 of the New York State Navigation Law. While county law may expand upon the requirements of the state law, it
cannot lessen those requirements. As per the Navigation Law, anyone operating a personal watercraft (JetSki, SeaDoo, etc.) on
the waters of New York State and any youthful operator ages 10 – 17 (inclusive) operating a motorboat without adult supervision
on board must hold a boating safety certificate issued by State Parks, the USCG Auxiliary or the US Power Squadron for having
completed a an 8-hour classroom based course of instruction. Online courses are not accepted under state law for these types of
For questions concerning the Suffolk's Safer Waterway Act, call the Suffolk County Executive's office at 631-853-4000.