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.

Under a new law, known as Brianna's Law, all motor boat operators:

  • Born on or after Jan. 1, 1993 will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2020.
  • Born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2022.
  • Born on or after Jan. 1, 1983 will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2023.
  • Born on or after Jan. 1, 1978 will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2024.
  • All motor boat operators regardless of age will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2025.
If you were born on or after:
You will need a boating safety certificate when operating a motorized vessel in:
January 1, 1993
2020
January 1, 1988
2022
January 1, 1983
2023
January 1, 1978
2024
All operators of motorized vessels, regardless of age, will need a boating safety certificate by January 1, 2025

I earned a state safety certificate when I was young. Does that count? It depends on when you took the course, whether you still have a copy of your original certificate, and whether you were under 18 years of age when you earned the certificate. We do not have all course records prior to 2000. Certificates issued prior to 2000 were only valid if issued to someone under the age of 18. 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 of course prior to 2000. 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 Course is NASBLA approved it is accepted in other states and Canada.

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 boat; will I need a course immediately? Yes. Previously, there was a 120-day allowance for owners of new boats to complete a course. Effective January 1, 2020 this allowance is no longer in effect.

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 should demonstrate how to properly use the boat before renting it however. 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? Please complete and print the Application for Replacement NY Safe Boating Certificate and forward it to our office with the $10.00 fee.

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

Why did my instructor give me two temporary certificates? All students receive a white temporary certificate after successfully completing the course. If you are older than 18 at the completion of the course you receive a yellow copy, your application for a permanent boating safety certificate. Forward it to our office with the $10.00 fee.

Why haven't I received my safety certificate yet? Processing a certificate may take up to 60 days depending on the volume of applications sent to this office. If you are over the age of eighteen, ensure that you have sent in your application for a permanent boating safety certificate and $10 fee.

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

I have a US Coast Guard Auxiliary boating safety certificate. Can I exchange it for a New York boating safety certificate? No. The same is true for US Power Squadron boating safety certificate. New York State can only issue a boating safety certificate to persons that have successfully completed a NYS classroom course.

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.

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 a course by calling the contact number provided.
  • 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.

Fees

An instructor may or may not charge a fee for the course. If a fee is charged, they may vary. Some courses may be taught by volunteers free of charge.

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? You must call the instructor contact number listed on the web site to register for your course. At that time you should ask the contact if there is a fee for that course.

Be advised: apart from any fee the instructor may charge there will be a $10 fee paid directly to NYS Parks for permanent certification of students 18 and older.

What type of payment do you accept? We will accept checks, money orders and credit cards. No cash and no debit cards.

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

Why did NYS Parks go to an online program? It was both the legislature's and governor's intention in passing the 2013 legislation that the public have access to the latest technologies in learning when meeting the State's boater education requirements. There are boaters who could not make a traditional classroom course for several reasons and the online programs can meet those boater's needs.

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 trade my on-line certificate for a New York boating certificate? No, there will not be a trade-in program of an on-line certificate for Park's issued certificate. The online certificates are of similar design to the state issued certificate so that law enforcement officers are not confused.

Can I apply for the Adventure License program? Students successfully completing the on-line course are also eligible to apply for the Adventure License.

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.

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.

Fees

There are two different options to consider when asking for your boating safety certificate to be attached to your DMV license or ID; Opt In Now or Opt In Later.

If you Opt-In Now, you want to receive a new DMV issued document and you will be charged a new document fee. If you Opt-In Later, you choose to wait for your next renewal and you do not pay a fee.

Opt-In Now driver license or Learner's permit $12.50.

Opt-In Now non driver ID $5.00.

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.

I had my fishing and hunting license put on my license. Why 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. NYS Parks has no control over 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.