Boating Resources

Whether you are a new boater or experienced, Boat Upstate NY has compiled the most important boating resources in one place just for you:

The New York State Boater’s Guide (pdf) – a complete reference source with all of the rules and regulations you need to know in order to boat safely and legally in New York State.

NY Recreational Boating Report (pdf) – the Recreational Boating Report provides an overview of the boating safety programs for which State Park has responsibility, vessel registration figures for each county, a report on Marine Law Enforcement activity across the state and more.

Study Guide for Public Vessel Operators License (pdf)  – a Public Vessel is defined as any vessel that operates on the waters of New York not under Coast Guard jurisdiction, carrying passengers in exchange for compensation. This study guide will tell you everything you need to know to study for your operators license.

Safeguard New York (pdf) – how you can help protect New York’s coasts, rivers, bridges, tunnels, ports, ships, military bases, and waterside industries.

Cold Water Immersion (pdf) – this brochure discusses the dangers of sudden immersion into cold water.

Vessel Noise Laws (pdf) – everything you need to know to keep your vessel legal when it comes to noise level.

Vessel Equipment Guide (pdf) – a quick reference guide to the equipment you should be carrying aboard your vessel while boating in New York.

Recommended Practices for Rowing Clubs (pdf) – developed in association with the US Rowing Association, this simple guide offers some tips for safe and enjoyable crewing or sculling experience.

PFD Laws of New York (pdf) – Always follow all safety and PFD (personal flotation device) laws when boating in Upstate NY. Update your knowledge here.



 Boater Safety

Life Jackets

New York Boating Education Law

For more information on the boating laws in the state of New York visit:

Mandatory Education and Age Requirements: 

New York has specific requirements for operating boats and personal watercraft, and the boater education law for each is very different. Read below to determine if you are required to take a boating safety course and if you are required to carry proof of education while boating.

Boat Operation (excluding PWCs):

Effective May 1, 2014, all individuals born on or after 5/1/96 are now required to successfully complete an approved course in boater education in order to operate a motorboat. Approved courses include those offered by NYS Parks, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or the U.S. Power Squadron. Individuals less than 10 years of age may not take this course of instruction. 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. Please refer to Frequently Asked Questions for more information. Find a Boating Safety Course near you.

PWC Operation – Education is Mandatory for All PWC Operators:

  • All personal watercraft operators must take an 8-hour classroom based boating safety course and successfully complete the proctored exam before they can operate a PWC on any waters of New York.
  • Programs offered by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Power Squadrons are acceptable.
  • Young boater safety certificates previously issued by New York State satisfy the educational requirements.
  • All PWC operators must be a minimum of 14 years old – no one under the age of 14 may operate a PWC.
  • No one under the age of 16 may rent a personal watercraft. Those under 18 years of age wishing to rent a personal watercraft must possess a boating safety education certificate.

Online boating safety courses and certificates obtained from online courses, such as the one offered by the BoatU.S. Foundation, are NOT recognized by the state of New York or on-water enforcement officers. In order to operate a PWC in New York, you must take a proctored classroom course and exams approved by the New York Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation and carry the official New York boating safety certificate aboard while in operation.

For more information on educational requirements, contact New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation Bureau of Marine, Recreational Vehicles at (518) 474-0445. Or, visit to find a boating safety class near you.



 Invasive Species

An invasive species can be any kind of living organism—an plant, insect, fish, fungus, bacteria, or even an organism’s seeds or eggs—that is not native to an ecosystem and causes harm. They can harm the environment, the economy, or even human health. Please join us in the proactive spread of invasive species by making sure you wash your boat thoroughly before launching your boat. Some regions, such as Lake George, it is becoming mandatory to clean your boat AND have it inspected prior to launch. See below for wash stations/decontamination sites and inspection stations.


Keep Invasive Species Out Information

Decontamination Sites



 NY Registration & Taxes



The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) registers boats in New York. You can either register your boat online (leaving DEC website) or call the DMV at (518) 473-5595



 Boat & Marine Insurance



Paul Kesick (845) 389-3683