Flotilla 42, Rochester, New York

and How They Affect You

Please review your state's boating regulations by previewing them in the New York State BOATER'S GUIDE. To obtain a a copy (electronic version), Click here .


Brianna's Law

Boating Education
New York State requires anyone of the appropriate age who operates a boat equipped with an engine to complete an approved boating safety course. This is not a license as New York and most other states do not require a license to operate your personal recreational boat.

However, the certificate IS REQUIRED to operate a vessel under power in NYS.

Don't wait to register to become certified, NYS estimates 1 million boaters will need to become certified.

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary offers the approved, 8 hour, About Boating Safely class and testing to get you certified and out on the water safely. These classes are taught by qualified instructors with decades of boating and teaching experience.

Brianna's Law effect on ABS class completion requirements:

Motorized Watercraft

Required ABS class
Current RequirementBorn on or after May 1, 1996

Phase in beginning January 1, 2020
2020Born on or after Jan 1, 1993
2021No change
2022Born on or after Jan 1, 1988
2023Born on or after Jan 1, 1983
2024Born on or after Jan 1, 1978
2025Everyone beginning Jan 1, 2025

Fines between $100 & $250

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To select a course date, Click here.

To register for a course date, Click here

520 River St.
Rochester, NY 14612


Motor Boat Education Requirements:

  • Operators born on or after May 1, 1996 must have a boating safety certificate and be at least 10 years of age.
  • Operators who are younger than 18 years of age must be accompanied by a person who is at least 18 years of age or older and is the holder of a boating safety certificate or not required by law to hold a certificate.
  • The operator is the owner of a recently purchased motor boat, if required by law to hold a boating safety certificate may operate the vessel without the required certificate for up to 120 days from date of purchase.
  • Persons 18 years of age or older may rent a motor boat without a boating safety certificate provided that the operator of the livery holds a certificate, demonstrates the use of the vessel and safety equipment, and the person renting demonstrates their understanding of the vessels operation and safety equipment. Those under the age of 18 must have a boating safety certificate in order to rent a vessel.

Motor Boat Operators Exempted From Having To Hold A Boating Safety Certificate:
  • Persons born before May 1, 1996.
  • Certified New York Safe Boating Instructors.
  • Members of the USCG Auxiliary or US Power Squadron.
  • Persons licensed by NYS Parks, the United States Coast Guard or Canadian Coast Guard to operate commercial vessels.
  • Police officers, peace officers, fire and rescue personnel, and life guards when acting pursuant to assigned duties.
  • A resident of another state or country who is the holder of a valid boating safety certificate issued according to the laws of their home state or country.


Mandatory Education Requirements:
New York requires that anyone operating a personal watercraft complete an approved course in boating safety or otherwise be accompanied, on board, by someone 18 years of age or older who is the holder of an approved boating safety certificate. Certificates are required to be carried at all times when operating the personal watercraft.

Minimum Age for Operation:
In order to operate a personal watercraft within New York the operator must be a minimum of 14 years of age and hold an approved boating safety certificate or is accompanied by a person over 18 years of age who is the holder of a boating safety certificate. It is strongly recommended that small children not be permitted to ride forward of an adult as it may lead to serious personal injury. It is also strongly recommended that no person be permitted to ride a personal watercraft if he or she cannot hold on to the person in front (or hand holds) and cannot keep both feet on the deck in order to maintain balance during operation.

Liveries are prohibited from renting PWC to individuals less than 16 years of age. Livery operators are also required to check proof of age, and if the individual is less than 18 years of age, a boating safety certificate, prior to renting out equipment. Liveries must also explain/demonstrate proper use of a PWC, as well as maintain rental records for not less than one year.
Those 18 years of age and older wishing to rent a PWC from a livery may do so without a boating safety certificate provided they operate in a specific area within 2500 feet of the livery, or if removed from the livery location they may not be operated beyond 500 feet of the livery operator in order that they may be supervised. In cases where a livery operator is monitoring PWC away from the livery, his/her PWC or life jacket must be clearly marked in a distinguishable manner.


Both Federal and State law require that any pleasure vessel, whether propelled wholly or in part by mechanical means, which is operated on the waters of the state of New York, be registered with the NYS Dept. of Motor Vehicles. Owners of vessels which are documented exclusively for pleasure with the federal government and which operate principally within NYS, must also apply to Motor Vehicles for a registration certificate and are required to display validation stickers. The following vessels are exempt from state registration requirements: vessels operating commercially with either a U.S. or foreign document; vessels legally registered in another state (up to 90 consecutive days maximum); lifeboats (not including tenders and dinghies); competition race boats; and non mechanically propelled vessels.

The registration certificate is your proof of current registration. It may also be your only proof of ownership unless the vessel is titled or documented. Vessel operators must carry the vessel’s original certificate of registration on board at all times. Likewise, the documented vessel must also carry its documentation at all times when the vessel is in use.

The registration number consists of the letters NY followed by four numbers and two letters. A space, or a hyphen, the width of a letter, must separate the first and last two letters from the four middle numbers (NY 1234 AB). The numbers must be painted or permanently attached to both sides of the vessel’s bow. It should read from left to right, be of block letters not less than three inches in height, and of a color that contrasts with that of the hull. The registration number should be the only number on the forward half of the vessel and should be clearly visible and readable from at least 100 feet during daylight hours. This number may not be transferred to another vessel.

Federal regulations require all vessel manufacturers to permanently affix a HIN to every vessel produced.  This 12 character identification, not to be confused with the vessel's registration number, is not only required in order for you to have your vessel registered, it also assists in product safety notifications as well as lost or stolen vessel recovery, much the same as the VIN on your car.  Make sure that the HIN found on the transom of your vessel matches the number printed on your registration certificate.  If there is a discrepancy, notify the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Some larger vessels owned by U.S. citizens may be documented with the U.S. Coast Guard. In New York, all documented pleasure vessels must apply for registration and display the appropriate validation stickers. The Department of Motor Vehicles will not issue a title or a number to a documented vessel, however you will receive a registration certificate and a set of validation stickers. Registration fees and taxes are paid at time of registration.

The Department of Motor Vehicles issues titles to all 1987 model year and newer vessels which are at least 14 feet in length. The title is your clear proof of ownership which must be surrendered to a new owner at time of transfer. If your vessel is less than 14 feet, then the registration certificate serves as the proof of ownership and must be signed over to a new owner.

Simply complete Motor Vehicle’s form MV-82B (application for registration), have the appropriate registration fee, provide proof of ownership, proof of payment of sales tax (may be paid to Motor Vehicles at time of registration), along with a bill of sale and you’re all set. If this is a new boat, or a vessel being registered for the first time, you will also need to bring the original certificate, or statement, of origin from the manufacturer with you to the Department of Motor Vehicles.


New York State has passed legislation to lower New York State's "Boating While Intoxicated" blood alcohol content (BAC) threshold from .10 percent to .08 percent. Under the law, a person found to have a BAC level of .08 or more while boating will lose the privilege to operate a boat for one year, and will also be subject to a fine of up to $500 and up to 90 days in jail. Under previous law, these penalties applied to the .10 BAC level.

New York State mandates a six-month suspension of operating privileges for the first finding of "Operating a vessel after having consumed alcohol;" and a suspension of one year or until the operator reaches the age of 21, whichever is greater, for a second or subsequent combination of consumed alcohol findings and/or alcohol-related convictions.

The law requires that operating privileges be suspended for one year if a person under 21 refuses to submit to a chemical test requested by a police officer who has "reasonable grounds" to believe that such person operated a vessel after consuming alcohol.

The law also directs that such suspension would be for at least one year or until the operator reaches the age of 21, whichever is greater, if there is a prior alcohol-related vessel offense or finding. The law provides for a special hearing procedure in the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to ensure prompt and efficient adjudication of the new offense before DMV hearing officers.


520 River St.
Rochester, NY 14612