Mandatory Boater Safety Education 5-1-14

Beginning May 1, 2014, Sections 49, 71-d, 75, 78 and 79 of the Navigation Law shall be
amended to provide for mandatory boater safety education. For the complete text
of these laws, please visit New York State Legislature.

Any person born on or after May 1, 1996 and at least 10 years old who operates a
motorboat must be the holder of a boating safety certificate issued by one of
State Parks, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or the U.S. Power Squadron.

An approved course of instruction includes at least 8-hours of classroom training and a
proctored examination. Students must be at least 10 years of age to take a
course. Age and education requirements for personal watercraft operators remain

Motor Boat Education Requirements:

  • Any operator under 18 must be
         accompanied on the vessel by someone at least 18 who holds a certificate
         if required by age, or someone at least 18 who is not required to hold a
  • An operator 18 or older who is
         required to hold a certificate but does not, accompanied by someone else
         over 18 who holds a safety certificate.
  • The owner of a recently purchased
         motor boat, if legally required to hold a boating safety certificate, may
         operate such vessel without the required certificate for a period of time
         not to exceed 120 days from purchase.
  • Persons 18 years of age or older
         may rent a vessel without holding a safety certificate, provided the
         operator of the livery holds a certificate, demonstrates the use of the
         vessel, and the person renting the vessel demonstrates their understanding
         of the vessels operation in return. Those under the age of 18 must have a
         safety certificate in order to rent a vessel.

 Motor Boat Operators Exempted From Having To Hold A Boating Safety Certificate:

  • Persons born before May 1, 1996
  • Certified New York Safe Boating Instructors Members of the USCG Auxiliary or
         US Power Squadron
  • Persons licensed by NYS Parks, the
         United States Coast Guard or Canadian Coast Guard to operate commercial
  • Police officers, peace officers, fire and rescue personnel, and life guards when acting pur- suant to assigned duties
  • A resident of another state or country who is the holder of a valid boating safety certificate issued according to the laws of their home state or country

Watercraft Rentals

The Navigation Law has been amended to extend the expiration date of Section 73-a,
Subdivision 2, regarding the rental of personal watercraft. Persons over the
age of 18 renting personal watercraft may continue to operate them without
having to hold a boating safety certificate. This provision, set to expire on
January 1, 2012, will now expire in 2014.

No other changes have been made to this section.

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To Preserve and Protect Keuka Lake