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Earn Your New York State Boating Safety Certificate 100% Online

Learn everything you need to earn your New York State boating safety certificate! SafeMotorist's New York Boater Safety Training Course is approved by both the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and the New York Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP).

Master all the rules and responsibilities that come with operating a motorized vessel or personal watercraft from the convenience of your own device. This 100% online boating safety course takes at least five hours to complete.

As soon as you complete all 10 modules and pass the final exam, you can print a temporary boating safety certificate. Get straight to having safe fun on New York's many lakes, rivers and other waterways. Your permanent certification card will be mailed to you within 35 days.

Who Needs a New York State Boating Safety Certificate?

Anyone in New York who operates a motorized vessel or personal watercraft (such as a Jet Ski, WaveRunner or Sea-Doo) must be at least 14 years old and carry a boating safety certificate. If your vessel has a motor of any size, you're required to have a certificate. This applies to sailboats with auxiliary motors.

Under a 2017 law known as Brianna's Law, all motorboat and personal watercraft operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1983, need a boating safety certificate as of 2023. Those born on or after Jan. 1, 1978, need to earn a boating safety certificate by 2024. By 2025, all motorboat operators — regardless of age — will need a boating safety certificate.

Boater Safety Course Benefits

Skip the classroom! Learn at your own pace with our online boater safety course.

  • 100% Online Instruction
  • Mobile-Friendly Format
  • 24/7 Course Access Across Devices
  • 180 Days to Finish Your Course
  • Audio Narration for All Modules
  • Optional Practice Test
  • National and State Regulations
  • Certificate Valid for Life

Course Outline

SafeMotorist's New York Boater Safety Training course includes 10 learning modules and a final exam. Each module contains approximately 30 minutes of instruction followed by a quiz. See below for a full overview of all 10 modules.

Module 1: Introduction to Boats and Boating

Topics covered in module 1 include:

  • Describing Types of Boats
  • Basic Boat Components and Vocabulary
  • Determining Length and Class
  • Determining Capacity

At the end of module 1, you should be able to:

  • Name and describe types of boats, including sailing, human-propelled, and power-driving
  • List and define parts of a boat and other basic nautical terms
  • Explain how to measure a boat's length and determine its length class
  • Describe two methods of determining a boat's capacity

Module 2: Required Equipment

Topics covered in module 2 include:

  • Personal Flotation Devices
  • Required Lights
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Back-Fire Flame Control Device
  • Ventilation Systems

At the end of module 2, you should be able to:

  • Explain how to select, wear, and use personal flotation devices
  • List the lights and sound signals required for recreational boats
  • Describe the types of visual distress signals required on recreational boats
  • Outline the legal requirements for carrying fire extinguishers on recreational boats and describe the types and sizes of fire extinguishers required
  • Describe the purpose and maintenance of backfire flame control devices and ventilation systems

Module 3: Planning a Trip

Topics covered in module 3 include:

  • Finding and Interpreting Weather Information
  • Finding Information About Local Hazards
  • Recognizing and Responding to Dangerous Conditions
  • Checking State and Local Laws and Regulations
  • Filing a Float Plan

At the end of module 3, you should be able to:

  • Name sources of information about weather, water conditions, and local hazards, and explain how to interpret this information for the intended trip
  • Explain how to identify dangerous weather and why it is important when planning a trip
  • Describe the purpose and content of a float plan, to whom it should be submitted, and when it should be canceled

Module 4: Preparing the Boat

Topics covered in module 4 include:

  • Documenting a Boat
  • Maintaining a Boat
  • Towing, Launching, and Retrieving a Boat
  • Fueling a Boat
  • Using a Pre-Departure Checklist

At the end of module 4, you should be able to:

  • Explain how to obtain and adhere to local, state, and federal laws and regulations for titling, registering, or documenting a boat
  • Describe the importance of preventative boat maintenance
  • Outline safe trailering and fueling procedures
  • Identify the purpose and content of a pre-departure checklist and critical topics for pre-departure passenger briefings
  • List and explain examples of factors that would prompt a "no-go" decision

Module 5: Operating Safely

Topics covered in module 5 include:

  • Operator Responsibilities
  • Unmooring, Mooring, and Anchoring
  • Dangers of Boating Under the Influence (BUI)

At the end of module 5, you should be able to:

  • Define the operator's responsibilities for proficiency and situational awareness
  • Describe basic safe boating practices and seamanship
  • List different types of anchors and the criteria for selecting appropriate anchors and other ground tackle
  • Outline procedures for unmooring, mooring, and anchoring a vessel
  • Explain the dangers of boating while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Highlight the special safety considerations that apply when operating a small watercraft

Module 6: Following Navigation Rules

Topics covered in module 6 include:

  • Inland Navigation Rules
  • Navigation Rule Situations
  • Sound Signals
  • Navigation Light Display and Recognition
  • Distress Signals
  • Homeland Security Measures
  • Aids to Navigation

At the end of module 6, you should be able to:

  • Describe typical navigation rule situations and the operator's obligations in each
  • Outline homeland security measures related to recreational boating
  • Explain the U.S. Aids to Navigation System (USATONS)
  • Identify and state the purpose of regulatory and informational markers

Module 7: Avoiding Hazards and Responding to Emergencies

Topics covered in module 7 include:

  • Environmental Stressors
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Propeller Safety
  • Fire Emergency Preparedness
  • Running Aground
  • Determining Obligation and Ability to Assist
  • Post-Incident Response Procedures

At the end of module 7, you should be able to:

  • List and describe common environmental stressors that affect recreational boating
  • Identify hazards associated with recreational boats, including carbon monoxide poisoning, propeller strikes, fires, and running aground, and describe practices to prevent or mitigate each
  • Explain how U.S. law defines the obligation and ability to render assistance to an individual or boat in distress
  • Outline response procedures for capsizing and falls overboard
  • List the kinds of accidents that must be reported to state authorities and describe a typical reporting procedure

Module 8: Other Water Activities

Topics covered in module 8 include:

  • Water-Jet Propelled Watercraft
  • Water Skiing, Towing, and Wake Sports
  • Unintended Water Entry
  • Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
  • Hunters and Anglers

At the end of module 8, you should be able to:

  • Outline safe boating practices and special accident risks for water-jet propelled watercraft
  • Explain how to prepare for unintended water entry
  • Describe the diver-down flag and the International Code Flag A
  • State the legal requirements for operating a boat in the vicinity of snorkeling and scuba diving activities
  • List risks hunters and anglers may encounter while boating

Module 9: Protecting the Environment

Topics covered in module 9 include:

  • Aquatic Invasive Species
  • Littering and Environmental Protection

At the end of module 9, you should be able to:

  • Describe the impact, risks, and mitigation methods related to aquatic invasive species
  • Outline the federal and state laws and regulations regarding environmental protection and methods for adhering to those requirements
  • Describe actions you can take to prevent and respond to aquatic invasive species

Module 10: Boating in New York State

Topics covered in module 10 include:

  • Boating Safety Education
  • New York Boating Administrative Information
  • Boating Equipment
  • Safe Boat Operation
  • Boating Accidents
  • Marine Ecosystem

At the end of module 10, you should be able to:

  • List education, licensing, and age requirements for operating a vessel in New York
  • Describe the registration and titling process for vessels in New York
  • List boating equipment required by New York law
  • Describe safe boating practices according to New York laws
  • Describe your responsibilities when you encounter other vessels in need of aid and when you are in a boating accident
  • Explain how to protect the marine environment in New York's waters

Course Testing Requirements

Each of the 10 modules in the New York Boater Safety Training course ends with a five-question quiz. A score of 80% is required to move on to the next module. You have unlimited attempts to complete each quiz. However, students who fail a quiz must review the entire module again before retaking the assessment.

An optional practice exam gives you a chance to review all course material before taking the 60-question final exam. The state requires students to achieve a score of at least 76% to earn their boating safety certificate.

You are allowed two 180-minute attempts to pass the final exam. After two attempts, you will have to repeat the entire boater safety course before making additional attempts.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will I receive my New York State boating safety certificate?

As soon as you pass the final exam, we will provide you with a temporary certificate that is valid for 90 days. You can print this certificate instantly and begin boating right away. Within 35 days of course completion, we will issue and mail to you a permanent boater safety card approved by OPHRP.

When does my boating safety certificate expire?

Your boating safety certificate will never expire and does not have to be renewed.

Do I have to carry my boating safety certificate with me?

Yes. You must have proof of your boating safety certificate with you during all motorized watercraft activities.

But there is an alternative to carrying a card or certificate with you everywhere. You can have your certification noted on your driver's license or other identification document issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This certification will be noted as an anchor icon.

For more information, please see the New York Adventure License website.

What if I lose my New York State boating safety certificate or card?

You can log into your course to reprint your temporary certificate anytime, but it is valid for only 90 days. Contact us if you lose your permanent boater safety card. We will provide you with a new one for a small fee.

Do I need a New York boating safety certificate to operate a non-motorized vessel?

New York encourages all boaters to complete a boater safety course, but a boating safety certificate is not legally required to operate a non-motorized vessel such as a canoe or kayak. However, you must carry a NASBLA-approved boating certificate to operate a vessel with a motor of any size, including sail boats with auxiliary motors.

Can I use my New York State boating safety certificate in other states?

Yes. Because the New York Boater Safety Training course is NASBLA approved, it is accepted in other states and Canada. Similarly, New York accepts NASBLA-approved boating certificates issued in other states.

Can I operate a motorboat in New York State with an out-of-state boating safety certificate?

According to OPRHP, you may operate a motorized watercraft in New York State if you hold a NASBLA-approved boating safety certificate issued by your home state.

Additionally, visitors may rent and operate a motorboat from a livery without a boating safety certificate, but the livery must provide basic instruction and safety information.

» Visit the OPRHP website or call 518-474-0456 for general boating safety questions.

New York Boater Safety Training Online

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