Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Boating Frequently Asked Questions

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New York Safe Boating Education Program

Boating Safety Certificates

Who needs a boating safety certificate? Anyone operating a Personal Watercraft (JetSki™, Wave Runner™, etc.) must have a boating safety certificate, and be at least 14 years of age or older.

In 2024: If you are operating any other type of motorized boat, you will need a safety certificate if you were born January 1, 1978 or later. Starting in 2025, all operators of motorized vessels, regardless of age, will be required to have a safety certificate.

I earned a state safety certificate when I was young. Does that count? We do not have all course records prior to 2000. Any certificate issued prior to 2000 is only acceptable if you have a copy of it and you were under 18 years of age when it was issued. All NYS boating safety certificates issued after 2000, regardless of age, are acceptable.

I took course prior to 2000, but lost my certificate - what should I do? Unfortunately, we do not have records for all students who took the course prior to the year 2000. Search for your record online at You can also email us at with your name and date of birth to search for your record. If your record is not found, you will need to retake the course to obtain a certificate.

Can I use my NY safety certificate in other states? Yes, because the New York Safe Boating Certificate is nationally accredited and valid in other states and Canada. Please note that the Adventure License is not acceptable proof of a safe boating certificate outside of New York State.

I'm visiting New York. Will my safety certificate from my home state be sufficient? Yes, provided it was issued from your current state of residence, and the course was approved by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators. Look for the NASBLA logo on your certificate.

I just bought a motor boat; will I need a course immediately? In 2024, if you were born January 1, 1978 or later, you will need a certificate before you can legally operate the boat. Starting in 2025, everyone, regardless of age, will need a certificate before they can legally operate their boat.

Will I need a course in order to rent a motorboat in New York? No. If you are at least 18 years old, you may rent without completing a course. The livery must demonstrate how to properly use the boat before renting it. Persons under the age of 18 may only rent a motorboat if they hold a safety certificate.

I lost my safety certificate. How can I get a replacement? You can order your replacement certificate online at New York State Parks

What if I lost my temporary certificate? Temporary certificates cannot be replaced.

Can I make a copy of my Boating Safety Certificate to keep onboard my boat? No, you must have the original certificate on your person or on board the boat if you are the operator.

Why haven't I received my safety certificate yet? It takes approximately 90 days from your course completion date for your permanent certificate to arrive in the mail. Your temporary certificate is valid through those 90 days. If you are over 18 years of age, you must purchase your certificate from New York State Parks before it will be mailed to you. If you are within 7 days of your temporary certificate’s expiration date and have not yet received your card, please email us at

How can I become an instructor? To become a State certified instructor, you must be at least 18 years of age, be able to demonstrate an ability to instruct and must have taken a New York State Parks classroom course. For more information, or to begin the certification process, click here

I have a US Coast Guard Auxiliary boating safety certificate. Can I exchange it for a New York boating safety certificate? A boating safety certificate issued by the US Coast Guard Auxiliary is recognized as a valid safe boating certificate – you do not need any further documentation. The same is true of certificates issued by the US Power Squadron/America’s Boating Club.

I took a class online and I have lost my permanent card, can you issue me a replacement card? You need to go to the online provider that issued your card. The same is true for lost Power Squadron and Coast Guard Auxiliary cards. NYS can only issue replacement certificates for the NY Safe Boating Course.

The back of my certificate says its approved by "NASBLA". What is that? The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories.

I have a Coast Guard license. Do I need a Boating Safety Certificate? You do not need a safe boating certificate if you have a valid current Coast Guard license. You must carry a copy of your license on you while boating recreationally.

In Classroom 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).

  • Students must be at least 10 years of age to attend the course.
  • This course requires a minimum of 8 hours of classroom instruction.
  • Courses are available throughout the state.
  • You must register for your course online at New York State Parks
  • An instructor may or may not charge a fee for the course. If a fee is charged, they may vary depending upon who is offering the course. Some courses may be taught by volunteers free of charge.
  • Students will receive a temporary boating safety certificate upon completion of the course.
  • Permanent boating safety certificates do not expire.


Courses are taught by volunteer or paid instructors. Volunteers are free of charge, but an instructor may charge a fee for the course. Fees may vary.

Students 18 years of age and older will be required to pay a $10 fee to NYS for issuance of a permanent boating safety certificate.

Cost for a replacement certificate is $10.00 regardless of age

How do I find out if there is a fee for the class? Course fees will be listed in the “About this Event” section of the class listing. Find a course near you at New York State Parks

What type of payment do you accept? Payment for certificates (both first time and replacement) must be made online at New York State Parks. No cash or personal checks are accepted.

If you require an alternative payment method, you must email us at

Can I pay my instructor for my permanent card? No, you must send your application for a permanent boating safety certificate and $10 fee to this office.

New York Safe Boating online programs

I have found a variety of on-line boating courses. Does NYS recognize all these courses? Although there are several on-line providers of "boating education", only those listed on the Parks webpage are acceptable in meeting the State's boater education requirements.

Can I apply for the Adventure License program? Students successfully completing the on-line course are also eligible to apply for the Adventure License. You must log back into the online course you took and complete the transaction there. Alternatively, you can bring your certificate directly to a DMV office to process.

I took an online class and I've lost my boating safety certificate. Can NYS Parks issue me a replacement certificate? Duplicate certificates and any problems with the on-line courses will be handled by the online provider. On-line support and a phone number can be found at the course provider's website.

I have a certificate from a Coast Guard Auxiliary boating safety course, do I still need to get a New York State Boating Safety Certificate? No, the certificate from the Coast Guard Auxiliary course is a boating safety certificate recognized as acceptable by New York State.

I have a certificate from a Power Squadron boating safety course, do I still need to get a New York State Boating Safety Certificate? No, the certificate from the Power Squadron course is a boating safety certificate recognized as acceptable by New York State.

I have a certificate from a US Powerboating safety course, do I still need to get a New York State Boating Safety Certificate? No, the certificate from the US Powerboating course is a boating safety certificate recognized as acceptable by New York State.

New York State Adventure License Program

Who is eligible for the Adventure License boating icon? Anyone successfully completing the New York Safe Boating Course may opt to have their driver's license, non-driver ID, or learner's permit indicate completion of the course.

I have a NYC ID; can I have the boating icon put on that ID? No, the icon can only be placed on licenses and ID's issued by the NYS DMV.

Do I need to notify DMV before they renew my license or ID? No. DMV will maintain a record of your having completed the boating safety course, and automatically place the icon on your license each time it is renewed.

I have a U.S. Coast Guard License; Can that be listed on the Adventure License? No, only boating safety certificates can be listed.

What happens if I move out of state? If you move out of state you must relinquish your NY Driver license and apply for a driver's license in your new state. In order to maintain the Adventure License status you will need to apply for a NY Non-Driver ID which will include that designation and maintain it continuously.

I have a lifetime fishing and hunting license and a boating safety certificate. Can I put all three on my driver's license? Yes you may.

I live in NY but I have an out of state boating safety certificate, do I qualify for the Adventure License program? No, you must have a New York safe boating certificate to be eligible.

I got my boating safety certificate online and tried to get the Adventure License through my provider but I when I click on the link it brings me back to a NYS information page. What do I have to do? You must log into your account created with your online provider. For more information, click on the link below for your provider and follow the directions on the document that pops up. Alternatively, you can bring your printed certificate to any DMV office.

I paid my fee and I have not received my new license/permit/ID yet. Who do I call? You can check on the mailing status with DMV.
Customers who wish to add the anchor icon to their enhanced driver's license must have an up-to-date photo on file with DMV in order for their request to be processed successfully. If your photo is out of date, please select Opt-In Later and contact your local DMV office to update your photo. If you select Opt-In Now without an up-to-date photo on file with DMV, you will not receive a new document until your photo is updated. Please note that NYS Parks does not have access to DMV records. Please contact your local DMV office with any further questions or information about updating your photos.

I had my fishing and hunting license put on my license. Do I have to pay an additional fee to get my boating safety certificate on my license? Whenever DMV prints a document for a customer, the customer must pay for it. DMV charges for this fee.

How can I get all my recreational licenses and boating safety certificate on my driver's license for only one fee? Figure out what sporting licenses you want to be indicated on your driver's license and Opt-In Later to have them apply at your next renewal. Next, wait a few days and Opt-In now for your boating safety certificate and you will receive all icons at the same time.