A New York boating license is needed for all drivers who wish to operate motorized types of watercraft in the state. Policies concerning this credential are set in place to ensure that residents are safely navigating public waterways. Overall, motorists wondering how to get a boating license can apply to attach this designation to their existing driver’s licenses.

When boaters successfully complete the application steps for a NY boat certification, they are awarded the privilege to operate these vessels. Necessary fees should also be paid for each permit request submitted. If licenses are lost or stolen, duplicate cards must be obtained. Continue reading to learn more about receiving boating licenses in New York.

Do you need a license to drive a boat in New York?

Motorists should make sure that the process of getting a boat license in New York is complete before operating water vessels in the state. While residents born before May 1, 1996 do not need a license to drive a motorized boat or personal watercraft in NY, those born after this date are required to obtain licensure by completing a safety course.

Furthermore, these licenses are not needed for kayaks, canoes or paddleboards. However, getting boater education cards is still beneficial for anyone who is going to be operating a vessel on public waterways.

New York Boating License Requirements

The minimum boating license age for personal watercraft in New York is 14 years of age. Overall, motorboat operators who were born on May 1, 1996 or after are required to obtain licensure.

Permits are provided in the form of safety certificates administered by the state. Some drivers are exempt from this requirement, such as residents with certificates from the United States Coast Guard, U.S. Power Squadron or U.S. Powerboating.

Getting a Boating License in New York

In order to obtain NY boater education cards, motorists must complete a specific safety course in the state. Thus, students must pass all required elements of the course in order to be granted boating privileges. Both online and classroom courses are available. Drivers can complete the following steps to receive boating license certification in the state:

  1. Enroll in an online or in-person class through the state licensing agency. A variety of third-party organizations also offer courses. However, programs must be state-approved in order to be acceptable.
  2. Study all of the materials provided during the class, including the New York boaters guide, which will prepare you for the final examination.
  3. Take the boat card test after finishing the required hours of in-person or online instruction.
  4. Pay all applicable fees using an acceptable payment method.

New York Boater Safety Courses

Both online boaters safety courses and in-classroom programs cover important safety material for drivers. Students must master the concepts presenting during classes in order to pass the final exam. Furthermore, while operating boats in the state, residents are expected to adhere to these safety standards and laws. The following information is covered during safety classes:

  • Navigating waterways
  • Emergency situation response
  • Legal boating requirements
  • Safely practicing water sports

Renewing and Replacing New York Boating Licenses

Drivers are required to keep their boater exam certification while operating water vessels in the state. If certificates are lost or stolen, they should be replaced immediately. Duplicate licenses are obtained by submitting a request form for a replacement card.

However, drivers should keep in mind that online boating course certificates cannot be replaced by the state parks and recreation department. To obtain a replacement boating license, NY residents should follow these listed steps.

  • Complete a replacement license application provided by the NY parks and recreation department.
  • Provide $10 fee by check, money order or credit card only.
  • Turn in application form and fee by fax or mail. To submit by fax, applicants should send forms to (518) 408-1030. To submit by mail, applications should be sent to the following address:
NYS Parks
Marine Services Bureau
Albany, NY 12238

Drivers will receive replacement certificates within three to four weeks of submitting a request.

New York Boat Registration Basics

Owners of NY water vessels must obtain a valid boat registration and title certificate. Boat title and registration documents are only needed for certain types of watercraft, however. The following types of boats are exempt from registration rules:

  1. Lifeboats
  2. Boats registered in another state and used in NY for less than 90 days
  3. S. or foreign commercial boats with valid documentation
  4. Boats used for racing competitions

Drivers are required to submit specific items to receive valid title and registration documents. The following documents are needed:

  • Boat registration and title application
  • Proof of boat ownership
  • Valid proof of identity
  • Bill of sale, if watercraft is purchased from any NY dealer

Additionally, boat registration stickers are only provided when applicants pay the required associated fees. Cash, check, money order and credit or debit cards are accepted.

New York Boating Rules and Regulations

Specific boating regulations apply to drivers of water vessels in the state. These rules are enforced to ensure boaters are utilizing safe boating practices on the water. Additionally, boat requirements are established to protect swimmers and preserve natural areas.

By following the established regulations, drivers can avoid unsafe situations while using boats on NY waterways. The following boating laws apply for boaters in New York:

  1. Children who are 12 years of age and younger must wear lifejackets at all times.
  2. Sports enthusiasts who are towed by a boat when waterskiing, tubing and wakeboarding must wear a lifejacket.
  3. All vessels 16 feet and under should carry approved visual distress signals in case of emergency.
  4. All mechanically-propelled boats should carry an approved fire extinguisher and anchor on board.
  5. All water vessels 39 feet and above in length must be equipped with a whistle or horn and bell.

New York Boating License Fees

Approved third-party boating course schools may charge varying fees to students. Upon completion of the NY boat license test, all drivers must pay a flat rate fee to the state. This $10 cost is used to cover processing fees for new certificates.

Last updated on Friday, March 6 2020.