Need to take a New York State-approved boater safety course and New York boating exam?
Last year a new state law took effect, mandating that all motor boat operators, regardless of age, will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2025. The legislation includes a five-year, phase in plan.
Both online and in-classroom boater safety courses are currently available, according to Brian Nearing, a spokesman for the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, which oversees the courses. Last year, the vast majority of courses taken were online. That trend will undoubtedly continue this coming year.
As for in-classroom safe boating courses, they “may now resume in counties that are in Phase 4 re-opening,” according to the Parks website. “Contact the instructor listed to confirm if the course you are interested in attending is still being offered. Students must wear face coverings during courses whenever social distancing cannot be maintained.”
The legislation, called Brianna’s Law (S.5685/A,4853.A) was signed into law in 2019 and took effect Jan. 1, 2020. Prior passage of this law, only boaters born on or after May 1, 1996 were required to complete a boater safety course.
Brianna’s Law expanded that requirement. Under the 5-year phase-in plan:
*All motor boat operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1993 needed a boating safety certificate beginning in 2020;
*Those born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2022;
*Those born on or after Jan. 1, 1983 will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2023;
*Those 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.
Students must be at least 10 years of page to participate in both classroom or online courses.
Those who pass the course will be issued a boating card and required to have it on their person when on the water. Failure to do so could result in a fine between $100 and $250, depending on the circumstances.
An alternative to carrying the boating card is to go to the state Department of Motor Vehicles and have it noted on your driver’s license that you have successfully completed the course.
The cost of these courses vary depending on who’s offering them.
In-person courses can be taken for free up or up to $65 and more. Check with the instructor ahead of time for the price. For those 18 or older, in addition to the class fee an extra $10 fee is charged for your boating safety certificate from state Parks.
Online courses, vary as well, with costs as high as $49.95, with the cost for the boating safety certificate included in the cost.
Approved courses include those offered by NYS Parks, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the U.S. Power Squadron or U.S. Powerboating. See the NYS Parks website for dates of a boating safety class being offered near you and information about the state-approved online courses.
Certain allowances to this law have been made for visitors to New York, persons renting a boat from a livery and persons purchasing a new boat for the first time. See the NYS Parks website about this and other frequently asked questions.
The classes, both in-person and online, last about 8 hours, which includes the final test. A quick, informal survey of courses being offered illustrates the various costs.