It's that time of year when the thought of many turn to our waterways. We look forward to enjoying New York State's many creeks, rivers, ponds, and lakes.

There are many activities to enjoy on the water throughout the Empire State. One of them of course, is boating. Motorboats, canoes, kayaks, or whatever you ride on the water, will soon be a common sight.

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Before you head out, no matter what type of boat you have, think about safety first. Always have a life vest when boating, no matter what kind of boat you are on, and that goes for anyone else accompanying you.

Safe Boating Certificate Requirements

Here's something you may not know, according to the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, as of this year (2024), all operators of motorized vessels born on or after January 1, 1978 need to carry a safe boating certificate while operating.

And, beginning January 1, 2025, a safety certificate will be required of all operators, regardless of age. New York State notes that the Safe Boating Course teaches basic boating skills and encourages common sense and courtesy to all who share the water. Boaters can earn their certificate by taking a classroom course with certified New York State instructors or through approved online courses.

To find where to take a course being held nearest your location, click HERE. For the online course, click HERE.

Registering Your Watercraft

Boat registrations are required by New York State law for all mechanically propelled boats, no matter the size or type. These licenses are good for three years. Registrations are handled the same as your motor vehicle, through the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.

There are exceptions. Registration is not required for non-motorized boats, including canoes, kayaks, and paddle boats. Motorized boats that are registered in another state and are being operated in New York State for less than 90 consecutive days are not required to be registered through the state.

Is Insurance Required For Boats In New York State?

According to the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, insurance is not required for boats. But in the event of an accident, no insurance could be a huge problem. New York State suggests you protect your family and your investment and consider insuring your boat.

For more information about boating in New York State, visit the Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation website.

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