Boating Laws NJ, CT, & NY
Note - Information on this page was
current as of the date of posting. Every effort is made to keep it current
as legislative changes occur. For the most current information refer to
your local state rules and regulations. This information is often available
on the web under your state's division of motor vehicles, department of
boating safety, or state police web pages.
The following article came out from the Associated Press in
NY requires life jackets for cold weather
By MICHAEL VIRTANEN (AP)
ALBANY, N.Y. — Seizing on the chilling fact that
drowning happens faster in cold water, New York has become the first
state to require life jackets on everyone in all small boats during the
coldest half of the year.
More boating accidents happen in the
summer, when more people are out on the water, but the fatality rate
rises in the colder months, from 8 percent nationally in July to 25
percent in November last year. Officials say the scarcity of other
boaters to help with rescues also increases the risk of death.
"The cold water carries greater risks than summertime
warm weather boating," state parks department spokesman Dan Keefe said.
"You lose your ability to swim. Even strong swimmers can succumb to the
cold water because their arms and legs get numb and useless."
Falling into cold water can trigger shock, as well as gasping, causing
the unexpected swimmer to suddenly inhale water. Immersion in water
colder than 40 degrees Fahrenheit can lead to hypothermia and passing
out within 15 minutes.
Starting Nov. 1, kayakers, canoeists and those aboard
all other boats under 21 feet must wear Coast Guard-approved personal
flotation devices while on New York's coastal waters, lakes, rivers and
other waterways. The rule will remain in effect through May 1. Violators
face fines ranging from $25 to $100. Similar seasonal requirements
for wearing personal flotation devices apply to canoes and kayaks in
Massachusetts and to all manually propelled vessels, including rowboats,
in Connecticut. The New York law is broader, affecting all
pleasure craft, including small sailboats and motorboats, according to
the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
The department, which oversees marine law enforcement
in New York, sought the law. The state Legislature passed the bill, with
boating industry backing, in the spring. Gov. David Paterson signed it
"It's perhaps the No. 1 best thing you can do to protect
yourself on the water, wearing a life jacket," said Matthew Long, of the
National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.
law already required PFDs for all children under 12 on boats less than
65 feet, with life jackets onboard for others. They must also be worn by
anyone in tow — like water skiers and tubers — and by all riders on
personal watercraft, Keefe said. Racing shells used by crew teams are
exempt from the requirement.
Most boating deaths nationally are
drownings from smaller craft, with 421 last year, according to the U.S.
Coast Guard. Of the 709 total boating deaths, 510 people drowned. About
90 percent weren't wearing life jackets.
A Coast Guard study shows
only 23 percent of all boaters wear PFDs, including children generally
required to wear them. That rate drops to 5 percent of adults in open
In New York, 21 boaters died last year, four in the colder
seasons, Keefe said. The 2007 total was the same, with six dying in
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights
NJ State Police Site - Title 13 Chapter 64 - Personal Water Craft Operation
- N.J.A.C 13:64 (2006) (36 page PDF file Adobe reader required)
NJ State Police site - Title 13 Chapter 82 - Boating Regulations - N.J.A.C
13:82 (2006) (39 page PDF file Adobe Reader required)
July 2006 -
New regulations regarding Liability Insurance for NJ boaters
with vessels over 25 horsepower. Update January 2007 - law was never enacted.
5/24/2006 - This
is an excerpt from an article by Gus Formato from 10-13 published in the
May 2006 edition of WAVES, the news letter of
the US Coast Guard Auxiliary
Department of Boating.
The bar has been raised. Is your state
leading the nation in boating safety education or is it trying to catch
Connecticut was a pioneer in requiring
most state boaters to successfully complete one of three safe boating
courses before legally operating a boat on state waters. In Connecticut,
boaters must have a Safe Boating Certificate in order to operate any
motorized vessel or sailboat in excess of 19.5 feet in length. All Connecticut
residents, owners of real property in Connecticut, and anyone using
Connecticut waterways more than 60 days per year are subject to these
requirements. As an alternative to the classroom course, the Connecticut
Department of Environmental Protection allows experienced boaters to
take a 50- question, multiple-choice Equivalency Examination.
Connecticut also requires PWC operators
to successfully complete both an approved boating course and a personal
watercraft course in order to obtain a Certificate of Personal Watercraft.
New Jersey has recently adopted similar
legislation. In New Jersey, successful completion of an approved boating
safety course is now a requirement to obtain a boating operators license.
This requirement is applicable to all motorized vessels in excess of
10 HP, as well as PWCs. Like Connecticut, New Jersey legislation provides
for a "test-out option", whereby experienced boaters (100+ hours of
operating experience), born prior to 1979, may take an exam in lieu
of completing a boating safety course. Candidates may only attempt to
pass this exam once. If they are unsuccessful, they will be required
to complete an approved boating safety course. Currently "test-out"
exams are only administered by the New Jersey State Police. However,
provisions are being drafted to allow the USCGAUX as well as the United
States Power Squadron to administer the "test-out" exams.
New York State is exploring similar
How does your state compare? Check the
graphic below, or find specifics at the following website:
Additional information is available
at the NASBLA website,
as well as the USCGAUX Boating Department website,
In conclusion, proactive approaches
to boating safety legislation ensure all recreational boaters a safer
and more enjoyable time on our waterways.
3/30/2006 Proposed Boating Law Changes for
NJ - New Jersey Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew (District 1: Cape May,
Atlantic and Cumberland), has proposed a bill (A2212) that would require
kids ages 13-15 to wear a life jacket when a boat is underway. Current state
law requires kids 12 years and younger to wear a PFD whenever the boat is
Here is the latest on Boating Law changes for New Jersey and New
this new law took effect 1 Jan 2006.
It increased the minimum age for operating a PWC
(personal water craft/jet ski), unsupervised, to 14 from the previous
age 10 limit. It will eventually ban operation by children under the
age of 14 altogether. To allow for a phase in of those children currently
in the 10-14 age range. The new law allows for children age 10-13 operating
a PWC to be accompanied by someone who is at least 18 years old and
on a vessel within 500 feet in plain sight of the child. The adult must
also have a boating certificate. The law will ban operation by children
13 and younger completely effective 1 Jan. 2009. See the
Parks site for more information. Generally, Boating Safety Certificates
from other states are acceptable in NY.
Many changes for 2006:
- No one may operate a sailboat over 12 feet (power or sail) without
completing a boating safety course and getting a certificate by
1 June 2008.
- Any person who is 16 years of age or older and was born after
31 Dec 1978 shall not operate a power driven vessel without taking
an approved boating safety course and obtaining a certificate by
1 June 2008.
- Written tests may be taken by an "experienced boater". Must
sign a statement that you have 100 hours at the helm of a vessel.
You may challenge the test only once. Internet studying will be
available; however test is closed book and must be administered
by an approved Instructor. See our
Public Education page if you
wish to contact one of our instructors to opt for the test-out option.
- DMV will not enter "boat" on your NJ drivers
license without proof of certification.
- On new boat purchases from a dealership, you may operate vessel
for 60 days without an approved safety certificate provided you
have completed a pre-first-time approved course provided by the
boat dealership. Dealer must have certification.
- Mandatory boat safety course certification is being phased in
based on your age, based on the following dates. A Safety Certificate
is required as of June 1st of each year as follows for:
persons born after 12/31/78 (28 years old
or younger on 1/1/2006)
by 1 June 2006, if you were born after 12/31/68 to before
12/31/78 (persons aged 28-38 as of 1/1/06).
by 1 June 2007, if you were born after 12/31/58 to before
12/31/68 (persons aged 38-48 as of 1/1/06)
by 1 June 2008, if you were born after 12/31/48 to before
12/31/58 (persons aged 48-58 as of 1/1/06)
by 1 June 2009 by all persons regardless
NJ Motor Vehicle Services decision tree chart or