Boating Laws
Boating Law and Boaters Education 

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Boat Laws  - The Boating Laws and Safety Guides



New York Boating Laws are administered by the New York State Division of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation..  Additional rules and regulations may apply in various counties. Know the law.

Basic New York Boating Laws

 - The New York State Boater's Guide (pdf) is a complete reference source with all of the rules and regulations you need to know in order to boat safely and legally in New York State.

Boating License Requirements - more info
  - Apply for a Replacement Certificate (pdf)

You must hold a safety certificate if:

  • You operate a personal watercraft and are at least 14 years of age. Until 2009 operators age 10-13 can still operate with restrictions. 

  • You wish to operate a motorboat (other than a personal watercraft) and you are at least 10 years old and less than 18 years old.

  • If you are less than 10 years old you may operate a motorboat (non-PWC) only if someone over 18 or someone between the ages of 10 and 18 who holds a safety certificate, is on board with you. Anyone may operate a personal watercraft if someone at least 18 years old is riding on the craft and they hold a safety certificate.

Jet Ski Rules - Personal Watercraft

On January 1, 2006, a new law amending Section 49, Subdivision 1-a of the Navigation Law raising the minimum age of operators of personal watercraft (PWC) to fourteen (14) went into effect. However, in order to minimize the impact on riders currently under the age of fourteen (14) certain allowances have been granted to phase in this new law.

Until January 1, 2009, those operators age ten (10) through thirteen (13) that have a boating safety certificate may continue to operate a PWC if they are accompanied by:

  • someone over 18 years of age and

  • within 500 feet on another personal watercraft or vessel and

  • within sight of the personal watercraft and

  • holding a safety certificate of their own.

Boat Registration - more details on: 


It is illegal for the owner or person in control of a motorboat to allow someone who does not meet the age or boating education requirements to operate the vessel.   

New York Boat Forms
State Directory of Boating Forms

Hull Identification Number Application (pdf)
Floating Object Permit Application (pdf)
Regatta Permit Application (pdf)
Accident Report Form (pdf)
Study Guide for Public Vessel Operators License (pdf)
Application for Public Vessel Operators License (pdf)
Application to Certify a Public Vessel (pdf)

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