New Boating Safety Laws Take Effect January 1, 2020

As of this coming January, anyone 27-years-old or younger will be required to have completed a boating safety course in order to operate a motorboat in New York water. This is a change from the current law, which only requires a boating safety certificate for anyone 23 and under.

This new legislation, known as Brianna’s Law, is set to go into effect January 1, 2020, and it will continue to get stricter under a five-year phase-in plan.

By 2025, all New York State motorboat operators—regardless of age—will be required to have completed the NYS boater safety course.

The five-year roll out looks like this:

  • All motorboat operators born on or after January 1, 1993 must complete a safety course to operate a motorboat beginning in 2020.
  • All motorboat operators born on or after January 1, 1988 must complete a safety course to operate a motorboat beginning in 2022.
  • All motorboat operators born on or after January 1, 1983 must complete a safety course to operate a motorboat beginning in 2023.
  • All motorboat operators born on or after January 1, 1978 must complete a safety course to operate a motorboat beginning in 2024.
  • All motorboat operators must complete a safety course to operate a motorboat beginning in 2025, regardless of age.

Safety courses through which boaters obtain the required certificate can be taken online or in person. If you have previously taken the course but cannot locate your certificate, a new copy can be obtained through the New York State Parks website for a $10.00 fee. Course information and applications for replacement certificates can be found on the following website: parks.ny.gov/recreation/boating/education.aspx

Note that the safety requirements for operating a personal watercraft (JetSki™, Wave Runner™, etc.) have not changed.

Anyone operating a personal watercraft must have a boating safety certificate and be at least 14 years of age or older.

Sample NYS Drivers’ License with Boating Safety “Anchor” symbol

Since you always need to have your certificate when you are on the water, consider adding your New York State Boating Safety Certificate next time you renew your New York State Department of Motor Vehicle Document (Driver’s License, or Non-Driver Photo ID Card). The endorsement will appear as an anchor icon on the face of the document. Learn more here: parks.ny.gov/recreation/boating/documents/NYStateBoatingSafetyCertificateOptionalCredentialingDMVDocument.pdf

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