New York Boating Education Law


For more information on the boating laws in the state of New York visit:

Mandatory Education and Age Requirements:

Education Requirements

    New York has specific requirements for operating boats and personal watercraft, and the boater education law for each is very different. Read below to determine if you are required to take a boating safety course and if you are required to carry proof of education while boating.

    Boat Operation (excluding PWCs):

  • Children under 10 may not operate.
  • Youth 10 to 17 years of age may only operate a vessel under the supervision of an adult who is at least 18 years of age, OR, they may operate alone only if they have successfully completed an approved boating safety course and carry aboard their boating safety education certificate.
  • Individuals 18 years of age or older are permitted to operate a vessel without restrictions and have no requirement for taking a boating safety course.
  • PWC Operation - Education is Mandatory for All PWC Operators:

  • All personal watercraft operators must take an 8-hour classroom based boating safety course and successfully complete the proctored exam before they can operate a PWC on any waters of New York.
  • Programs offered by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Power Squadrons are acceptable.
  • Young boater safety certificates previously issued by New York State satisfy the educational requirements.
  • All PWC operators must be a minimum of 14 years old - no one under the age of 14 may operate a PWC.
  • No one under the age of 16 may rent a personal watercraft. Those under 18 years of age wishing to rent a personal watercraft must possess a boating safety education certificate.

  • Online boating safety courses and certificates obtained from online courses, such as the one offered by the BoatU.S. Foundation, are NOT recognized by the state of New York or on-water enforcement officers. In order to operate a PWC in New York, you must take a proctored classroom course and exams approved by the New York Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation and carry the official New York boating safety certificate aboard while in operation.

    For more information on educational requirements, contact New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation Bureau of Marine, Recreational Vehicles at (518) 474-0445. Or, visit to find a boating safety class near you.

We provide this information as a service and strive to keep this website up to date. Please let us know of any inconsistencies by bringing them to our attention at once at Resources for these pages include state statutes, state web pages and state approved boating guides. BoatU.S. is not responsible for any misinterpretation of the law or any change in the law that is not adequately reflected in these pages. Damages as a result of failing to abide by stated law shall not be the responsibility of BoatU.S., BoatU.S. Foundation or its employees.


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