Reference Guide to State Boating Laws

The Reference Guide to State Boating Laws answers a number of questions related to recreational boating safety public law. Topics covered include boating education, operator age, water skiing, boat noise, numbering & titling, personal watercraft, boating under the influence, personal flotation devices and more.

The data in the guide was supplied by the states and collectively updated during 2007. Data can also be updated by boating law administrators (or designates) for the individual states.

The information is subject to change at any time and facts should be verified with the BLAs if there are any questions.

To access the data, click on the drop down menu below and select a topic area.

New York

Question

Data

Commercial Vessels

Does your state/territory regulate commercial vessels on sole state waters?

Yes

Other, please specify

If you answered yes to the previous question, is your agency responsible for enforcing regulations on commercial vessels on sole state waters?

Yes

Other, please specify

If you answered "No" to the previous question, which state agency is responsible?

White Water

Does your state regulate vessel operation in white water areas?

No

Other, please specify

Does your state regulate commercial white water operations?

No

Other, please specify

Search & Rescue

Does your agency have a dive team?

No

Other, please specify

What agency is responsible for Search and Rescue operations?

Local marine patrols, local Fire Dept. NYS Police

What agency is responsible for victim recovery?

Same as 8

Boating Education Requirements

Does your state require mandatory boating safety education for some segment of the population?

Yes

Who is required to complete a boating education course in your state?

operators of pwc over the age of 14 children between the age of 10 and 18 that want to operate a mechanically proppled boat, other than a pwc, alone

Are only residents of your state required to complete a boating education course?

No

Other, please specify

Education Exemptions

Are non-residents exempt from having to take a boating education course in your state?

Yes, provided they carry their state certificate if otherwise required by New York State.

Other, please specify

Canadian CG licensed operators as crew.

Are U.S. Coast Guard licensed operators exempt from having to take a boating education course in your state?

Yes

Other, please specify

Are any other persons exempt from having to take a boating education course in your state? Please list.

police , fire and life guard performing their offical duties.

Exams and License/Certificate Issuance

Is issuance of a license/certificate dependant upon passing an exam in your state?

Yes

Other, please specify

attend an 8 hour coure and pass the exam

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, what is the passing score in your state?

75%

Providers of Education Courses

State Agency

X

US Coast Guard Auxiliary

X

US Power Squadrons

X

Public School System

Private Company

X

Other, please specify

Minors, Powerboats Personal Watercraft

Does your state require an adult to be on board when a minor is operating a motor-powered vessel other than a PWC?

yes unless the youth has a boating safety certificate and between the ages of 10 and 18

Other, please specify

Does your state require an adult to be on board when a minor is operating a PWC?

yes unless the youth has a boating safety certificate and is 14 years of age or older

Other, please specify

Minimum Ages for Education Certification

Does your state certify minor boaters?

Yes

Other, please specify

What is the minimum age someone can be certified in your state?

10 for boats, 14 for pwc

Does your state have reciprocity for accepting out of state certification of minor boaters if the certification course meets NASBLA's Education Standards?

yes, only if they produce a state issued certificate

Mandatory Boat Operator Licensing

Does your state require mandatory boat operator licensing?

No

Other, please specify

Minimum Ages for Non-PWC Vessels

Does your state set a minimum age requirement to operate a motor powered vessel other than a PWC?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, please list the required age and any other details such as horsepower rating.

10 to 18 must have a boating safety certificate to operate alone

Does your state set any minimum age requirements to operate a PWC?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, please list the requirements.

14 yrs and older only if they have a boating safety certificate

Minimum Ages for Non-Powered Vessels

Are there any minimum age requirements in your state to operate non-powered vessels such as sailboats, canoes or kayaks?

No

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, please list the requirements.

Education Reciprocity

Do you accept out-of-state boating education certificates in your state?

Yes

Other, please specify

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, which type of certificates do you accept?

State issued, USPS, USCG

Does your state honor NASBLA-approved course reciprocity for non-residents?

Yes, provided it is state issue

Other, please specify

Wallet-Sized Certificates

Does your state issue wallet size boating certificate cards?

Yes

Other, please specify

How long are education certificates/student wallet cards valid in your state?

for life

Challenge Exams

Does your state allow students to take a challenge exam to meet your state boating education requirement?

No

Other, please specify

Online Courses & Proctoring

Does your state have any laws in place which expressly prohibit online boating safety courses?

Yes

Other, please specify

Does your state require boating safety tests to be proctored?

Yes

Other, please specify

Water Skiing

Does your state require an observer to be present when pulling a skier?

Yes

Other, please specify

Does your state require a mirror to be present when pulling a skier?

No

Other, please specify

Does your state prohibit water skiing during any specific time of the day/night?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, please describe the time(s) when skiing is prohibited.

prohibited from sunset to sunrise

Water Skiing

Does your state require a skier to wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD?

Yes

Are self-propelled skis allowed to be used in your state?

Yes

Does your state require the use of a skier down flag?

No

Describe any other water skiing restrictions in your state.

observer is required and must be at least 10 yrs of age

Motorboat Noise

Is there a maximum noise level for motorboats in your state?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, please give the levels and standard used.

90 db, J2005 75 db, J1970

Is there a factory muffling alteration law in your state?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, what is the law?

can not sell a boat that is louded then what the law allows

Is boat noise governed by local ordinance in your state?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, what is the local ordinance?

44. Noise levels on pleasure vessels. 1. The provisions of this section shall apply to the navigable waters of the state including all tidewaters bordering on and lying within the boundaries of Nassau and Suffolk counties. 2. (a) No person shall operate or give permission for the operation of any pleasure vessel in or upon the waters of this state in such a manner as to exceed a noise level of 90dB(A) when subjected to a stationary sound level test as prescribed by SAE J2005. (b) No person shall operate a pleasure vessel on the waters of this state in such a manner as to exceed a noise level of 75dB(A) measured as specified in SAE J1970. Provided, that such measurement shall not preclude a stationary sound level test as prescribed by SAE J2005. 3. Sale or manufacture. No person shall manufacture or offer for sale any pleasure vessel or engine for use in a pleasure vessel for use on the waters of this state if such vessel or engine, at the time of manufacture or sale, cannot be operated in such a manner so as to comply with the sound level requirements provided in this section. 4. No person shall operate or give permission for the operation of any pleasure vessel in or upon the waters of this state that is equipped with an altered muffler or a muffler cutout, bypass or otherwise reduce or eliminate the effectiveness of any muffler or muffler system installed in accordance with this section. 5. No person shall remove, alter or otherwise modify in any way a muffler or muffler system in a manner which will prevent it from being operated in accordance with this section. 6. Exceptions. The provisions of this section shall not apply to pleasure vessels designed, manufactured and sold for the sole purpose of competing in racing events and for no other purpose. Any such exemption or exception shall be so documented in any and every sale agreement and shall be formally acknowledged by signature on the part of both the buyer and the seller and copies of said agreement shall be maintained by both parties. A copy shall be kept on board whenever the pleasure vessel is operated. Any pleasure vessel sold under this exemption may only be operated on the waters of this state in accordance with this section. The provisions of this section shall also not apply to: (a) Pleasure vessels which are competing in or participating for a definite race over a given course held under the auspices of any bona fide club or racing association between the hours of nine o'clock in the morning and sunset, which has been approved pursuant to the provisions of section thirty-four of this chapter, and all provisions of such section have been complied with or pursuant to authorization by the commandant of the United States Coast Guard. (b) An authorized agent of the federal, state or municipal government when operating a pleasure vessel necessary to carry out his or her official duty of enforcement, search and rescue, firefighting or research programs. (c) A pleasure vessel being operated by a boat or marine engine manufacturer for the purposes of testing and/or development. (d) A pleasure vessel manufactured prior to nineteen hundred sixty-five. 7. Any officer authorized to enforce it goes on but this text box will not allow any more

Marine Sanitation Devices

Does your state prohibit Y-valve through-hull discharge in waters of state jurisdiction?

Yes

Other, please specify

Does your state require Y-valves to be locked/closed in waters of state jurisdiction?

Yes

Other, please specify

Marine Sanitation Devices

What are the penalties for misuse or failure to equip a vessel with a Marine Sanitation Device in your state?

none

What are the penalties for illegal dumping/discharge of a Marine Sanitation Device in your state?

13. (a) Any person who violates paragraph (b) of subdivision two of this section, shall be guilty of an offense and upon conviction shall be punished with a fine of not more than two hundred fifty dollars, or by imprisonment of not more than sixty days, or by both such fine and imprisonment; provided, however, that in the event any person violates this section more than twice during the same calendar year and is convicted of more than two such violations, the third and each subsequent violation shall be deemed a misdemeanor. (b) Any person who violates any other provision of this section or regulations of the department adopted pursuant hereto shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished with a fine of not more than one hundred dollars, or by imprisonment of not more than sixty days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Personal Watercraft Operation

Does your state require users to wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD when operating a PWC?

Yes

Does your state require PWC rental operators to provide any instruction or education in PWC operation prior to use?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, how much instruction is required?

(b) the operator of such livery, or his designated agent, prior to permitting the use by such person of such personal watercraft or specialty prop-craft, explains and demonstrates to such person by video or actual in water demonstration the operating procedure of such personal watercraft or specialty prop-craft and the use of such vessel's safety equipment; (c) such person, after receiving the explanation and demonstration required pursuant to paragraph (b) of this subdivision, demonstrates to such livery operator or to such designated agent the ability to operate such vessel and use the applicable safety equipment;

Does your state prohibit PWC operation at any specific times?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, please list the times.

phohibited from sunset to sunrise

Personal Watercrafts and Skiers

Does your state allow PWCs to pull water skiers?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, are there any restrictions?

must be a three person or greater machine

Personal Watercraft Restrictions

Is there a speed limit specific to PWCs other than slow/no wake zones in your state?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, please list the speed limit.

f. No person shall operate a personal watercraft or a specialty prop-craft within five hundred feet of any designated bathing area, except in bodies of water where the opposing shoreline is less than five hundred feet from such designated area and in accordance with speed regulations and restrictions as provided by local law or ordinance but in no event at a speed in excess of ten miles per hour, provided, however, that nothing contained in this subdivision shall be construed to prohibit the launching of such vessel from designated launching areas or sites.

Is PWC operation restricted within any area or zone in your state?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, please list the restricted area or zone.

restriction vary by town and waterway

Are limitations imposed on wake jumping with PWCs in your state?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, please describe the limitations.

g. Every personal watercraft and specialty prop-craft shall at all times be operated in a reasonable and prudent manner. Maneuvers which unreasonably or unnecessarily endanger life, limb, or property, including, but not limited to, (i) weaving through congested vessel traffic, or (ii) jumping the wake of another vessel unreasonably or unnecessarily close to such other vessel or when visibility around such other vessel is obstructed, or (iii) swerving at the last possible moment to avoid collision shall constitute reckless operation of a vessel, as provided in section forty-five of this article

Is there a kill switch or safety lanyard requirement for PWCs in your state?

Yes, if provided on watercraft

Life Jackets

Which persons in your state are required to wear a PFD and under what circumstances?

1. Anyone <12 years of age on a vessel <65 feet, unless situated in an enclosed cabin; 2. Anyone towed behind a vessel; 3. Anyone on a personal watercraft; 4. Anyone on a vessel <21 feet between Nov 1st and May 1st.

What are the penalties for violating PFD regulations in your state?

10. Any violation of the provisions of this section, or of a rule or regulation adopted pursuant to this section, shall constitute a violation punishable by a fine of not less than twenty-five nor more than one hundred dollars.

Blood Alcohol Content

What is the BAC level at which a person is considered intoxicated in your state?

.08 for adults .04 for commercial operators .02 for under 21

Does your state have a lower threshold for BAC for minor boaters?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, what is the BAC level for minors?

.02 for under 21

Boating Under the Influence

Does a BUI conviction impact an offender's automobile driving privileges in any way in your state?

No

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, how are their privileges impacted?

BUI Saturation Patrols & Checkpoints

Are BUI saturation patrols utilized in your state?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, how are they used?

can not provide that information

Are BUI checkpoints utilized in your state?

Yes

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, how are they used?

can not provide that information

Alcohol Testing for BUI

Does your state allow blood tests to determine BAC or BUI?

Yes

Does your state allow breath tests to determine BAC or BUI?

Yes

Does your state allow urine tests to determine BAC or BUI?

Test Usage in Criminal Evidence

Blood

X

Breath

X

Urine

X

Field Sobriety Tests

Does your state require field sobriety tests to be conducted on shore?

Other, please specify

Other, please specify

not required, but instructed to go to shore

Can refusal of a test be used against a boater in criminal prosecution in your state?

Yes

Other, please specify

Do marine officers utilize random BUI inspections that include boarding the boat in your state?

Yes

Negligent Operation of a Vessel

Does your state allow officers to issue citations for negligent operation of a vessel?

Yes

Portable BUI Equipment

Does your state allow the use of hand held or portable BUI enforcement equipment?

Yes

Does your state allow the use of hand held or portable BUI enforcement equipment to be used for probable cause?

No

Does your state allow the use of hand held or portable BUI enforcement equipment to be used for evidentiary purposes?

No

What percentage of law enforcement officers have access to hand held or portable BUI enforcement equipment in your state?

All

Probable Cause

Does state law require probable cause for marine officers to stop a vessel?

Yes

Other, please specify

Does state law require probable cause for marine officers to board a vessel?

Yes

Other, please specify

Towing Distressed Vessels

Do marine officers utilize random safety inspections that include boarding the boat in your state?

Yes

Other, please specify

Are marine officers allowed to tow vessels in distress in your state?

Other, please specify

Are seaplanes "on the water" treated as vessels in your state?

Yes

Other, please specify

Liability Insurance

Does your state mandate liability insurance for boaters?

No

On-Water Pursuits

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on on-water pursuit?

No

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on interstate on-water pursuit?

No

Transporting Subjects, Accident Victims, Guests

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on transporting subjects?

No

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on transporting accident victims?

No

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on transporting guests?

No

Officer Safety

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on requiring officers to wear Coast Guard-approved PFDs?

No

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on skin care safety for officers?

No

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on hearing safety for officers?

No

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on back safety for officers?

No

Towing Distressed Vessels

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on towing distressed vehicles?

No

First Responders, First Aid, Good Samaritans, Search and Rescue

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on being a first responder at an accident?

No

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on the use of first aid?

No

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on the Good Samaritan law?

No

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on search and rescue?

No

Inter-agency Interacton

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on interaction with local agencies?

No

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on interaction with other state agencies?

No

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on interaction with federal agencies?

Yes

Investigation of Theft & Fraud

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on investigation of theft?

No

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on investigation of fraud?

No

Employment

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on outside employment?

No

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on substance abuse?

No

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on off-duty responsibilities?

No

Firearms

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on firearms training?

No

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on firearms training recertification?

No

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on in-service training?

No

Deadly Force

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on use of deadly force?

No

Volunteers

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on use of volunteers?

No

BUI Checkpoints

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on use of BUI checkpoints?

No

Patrol Time

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on on-water patrol time as a safety factor?

No

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on working a percentage of time on night patrol?

No

Carrying Emergency Equipment

Does your state have a written, formal marine law enforcement policy, operational procedure or executive order on carrying emergency equipment (loaner PFDs, throw lines, etc.)?

No