Winter Boating Safety

By Elby Burr, New York State Safe Boating Instructor & Member of the FI Harbor Committee

COLD WATER LAW

A reminder that everyone aboard pleasure vessels less than 21 feet in length are required to wear a life jacket while underway between November 1 and May 1. This includes non-motorized boats, such as rowboats, canoes, and kayaks. NYS Nav. Law Section 40.1(e)

WHO MUST CARRY A SAFE BOATING CERTIFICATE IN NY STATE?

  • All operators of personal watercraft
  • Starting in 2020, all operators of motorized vessels will be required to obtain a boating safety certificate by 2025 under a new law known as Brianna’s Law. Phase in details are below:
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

ALTERNATE ACCEPTABLE BOATING SAFETY COURSES & EXEMPTIONS

Authority: Article 4 of the Navigation Law and subdivision (8) of section 3.09 of the Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Law: Section 451.5 Exemptions.

(a) A person is exempt from carrying a boating safety certificate or taking the course if they hold at least one of the following valid certifications, licenses, memberships or status. A copy of that certification, license, membership or status information must be carried by the operator and produced upon request of a law enforcement or judicial officer. A law enforcement or judicial officer may require the operator to produce the original certification, license, membership or status document within a reasonable time period:

(1) safe boating instructor certification issued by the agency;

(2) membership in good standing of the United States Power Squadron or a safe boating certification issued by the United States Power Squadron;

(3) membership in good standing of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary or a safe boating certification issued by the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary;

(4) valid license issued under section 64 of the Navigation Law;
(5) valid operator’s license issued by the United States Coast Guard or the Canadian Coast Guard;

(6) police officer, peace officer, firefighter, emergency rescue personnel or lifeguard acting within the scope of their official duties; or

(7) non-resident or New York resident who has received comparable safe boating instruction and is holding a valid comparable certificate issued by the state or country where they presently reside or recently resided;

(i) however, a New York resident holding a valid comparable certificate issued by
a former state or country of residence must apply for a boating safety certificate and complete the course within a one year grace period after moving into the State;

(ii) the agency retains the discretion to review any out-of-state instruction to determine whether it is equivalent to the New York course. If the agency finds the out-of-state course is not equivalent it may require a non- resident to apply for a boating safety certificate and complete the course requirements, or may require a new resident of New York to apply for the boating safety certificate and complete the course requirements prior to expiration of the one-year grace period.

Temporary Boating Safety Certificates may only be issued by New York Certified instructors to persons who successfully complete the New York Safe Boating Course. The US Coast Guard Auxiliary and the US Power Squadron and New York State Safe Boating Program are independent of each other and may not be combined.

Printable NYS Winter Boating & Certification Info

Please refer questions to Elby Burr, elbyburr@comcast.net

Check Also

Suffolk County EOC Update/Situation Report

Update as of July 4, 2020