New safety law requires boaters to take courses
David Figura firstname.lastname@example.org
New York’s new boating safety law, called Brianna’s Law, will require that all operators of motorized craft – regardless of age — have boating safety courses under their belts by 2025. An exception, though, is those who are renting boats.
The legislation was signed Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and takes effect Jan. 1, 2020. The law will be phased in during the following five years.
NYUP contacted the state Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, which is responsible for managing the boating and safety course scene in New York. The following information was taken from the State Parks website and from comments from Dan Keefe, a state Parks spokesman.
What are the acceptable options for taking a boater safety course in New York? Cost?
The state gives boat operators two options: Taking a regular classroom course or an online course.
*The in-classroom course option is designed as a comprehensive study of boating safety to teach the fundamentals of safe boating operation. The 8-hr course requires a structured classroom setting. Courses are available throughout the state. Find a course near you.
Registration for a course is completed by calling the contact number provided. Course providers are responsible for any fees they may charge. Fees paid to the instructor do not cover the cost of the permanent certificate issued by NYS Parks. Individuals ages 18 and above will be charged $10. There’s no charge for those ages 10 (the minimum age to drive a motorized craft in New York) to 17. New York State only issues a boating safety certificate to persons that have successfully completed a NYS classroom course.
(Important: An instructor may or may not charge a fee for the class. If a fee is charged, they may vary. Some courses may be taught by volunteers free of charge. Check with the instructor beforehand.) *Boating Safety Certificate course requirements can be completed with one of the online courses listed below. These will provide the same information supplied in the classroom courses. Course providers are responsible for any fees they may charge. Successful completion of unit exams is required in order to advance through the course and ultimately undertake a comprehensive final exam. Fees paid to the online provider cover the cost of your permanent certificate issued by the provider.
› BOATERexamm › Boat-ED › Boat U.S. › America’s Boating Club (formerly known as US Power Squadron) Spanish online course available
› BoatSmart › iLearnToBoat Refer to the DEC website for more information about online safety courses.
How will this new law be phased in?
Currently, state law only required those born after May 1, 1996, to complete a boater safety course in order to drive a motor boat.
The new law expands that requirement. Under the 5-year, phase-in plan, all motor boat operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1993 must complete a safety course to operate a motor boat beginning in 2020.
Those born after Jan. 1, 1988 must complete a safety course beginning in 2022. Those born on or after Jan. 1, 1983 must complete a safety course beginning in 2023. Those born on or after Jan. 1, 1978 must complete a safety course beginning in 2024.
The requirement would extend to all motor boat operators beginning in 2025, regardless of age. Failure to comply could result in a fine of between $100 and $250.
Does state parks have records of all those who’ve taken a boater safety course in this state? How far back?
New York State only issues a boating safety certificate to persons that have successfully completed a NYS classroom course. State Parks does not have records of boater safety courses taken prior to the early 1990s, Keefe said..
What if someone took a course before the early 1990s and doesn’t have proof. Does that mean he or she will have to take another course to legally drive a motorized craft?
“Yes, if their name is not in our data base,” Keefe said.
What if someone lost his or her safety certificate and wants to get a copy a copy from state parks? How would that be done? Cost?
For the state’s in-classroom courses endorsed by the state, a written application (downloadable online) must be completed and mailed to State Parks. Cost is $10.
However, state Parks is not able to provide dublicates of boating safety certificates for the online courses and those given by the US Power Squadron and US Coast Guard Auxiliary. Those providers need to be contacted directly to see if a replacement can be provided.
Can a boater use his or her boating safety course certificate obtained from another state to satisfy the requirements of this law?
Yes, provided it was issued from your current state of residence, and the course was approved by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators. Look for the NASBLA logo on your certificate.
What if someone rents a boat from a marina? Will that person need to have taken a boating safety course beforehand and have a safety certificate in their possession before going out?
No. If you are at least 18 years old, you may rent without completing a course. The livery should demonstrate how to properly use the boat before renting it, however. Persons under the age of 18 may only rent a motorboat if they hold a safety certificate.
Does this current law change the regulations concerning jet skis?
No. One must be at least 14 and hold a safety certificate to drive one, Keefe said.