Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

May 01, 2014

Randy Simons
Dan Keefe
(518) 486-1868

State Parks Reminds Young Boaters of New Boater Education Requirements

Law requires next generation of boaters born after May 1, 1996 to obtain Boating Safety Certificate

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) reminded boaters that a new law that will take effect May 1 requires the next generation of boaters to obtain an approved Boating Safety Certificate to operate a motorboat in New York State.

"Recreational boating is a fun family activity and a great way to explore New York's outdoors. With summer fast approaching, I encourage boaters to make sure their young friends and family members can join in on the fun by staying up to date with new boater education requirements," State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said. "Whether they plan to go boating this summer or sometime in the future, anyone born on or after May 1, 1996 now needs to obtain a Boating Safety Certificate to operate a power boat in New York."

To make New York waterways safer, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law requiring anyone born on or after May 1, 1996 who wants to operate a motorboat to obtain a Boating Safety Certificate by completing an approved eight-hour course. Courses may be completed and certificates obtained through the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, U.S. Power Squadron, or the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. A list of approved courses is available on the State Parks website at Regardless of age, all personal watercraft (PWC) operators still need a Boating Safety Certificate.

Additionally, the new state law supersedes a 2012 Suffolk County boater education requirement that applied to all motorboat operators in Suffolk County. Now, only those born after May 1, 1996 are legally required to possess a Boating Safety Certificate to operate a motorboat. However, State Parks encourages everyone, regardless of age, to consider taking a boater education class to sharpen their nautical knowledge.

For New Yorkers who have earned a Boating Safety Certificate, keeping track of it is even easier thanks to New York's new Adventure License. New Yorkers who have taken an approved safe boating course and received a Boating Safety Certificate, with just a few easy steps, can have the certification reflected as an anchor icon on their NYS Driver License, Non-Driver ID or Learner Permit. The personalized Adventure License eliminates the need to carry a separate certificate. For more information on the other benefits of getting an Adventure License, visit

The State Parks Marine Service Unit is responsible for the general coordination of boating safety programs and supports marine law enforcement efforts across the state, including patrols, training and funding for local marine enforcement activities. For more information about boating safety - including listings of boating safety courses - and marine recreation in New York State, visit