Boating laws can vary from state to state so it is important that you familiarize yourself with the New York Boating laws before you hit the water.
Many states require one to take a boating safety course before being allowed to utilize a boat on their waters. New York is one of those states for personal watercraft operators and youth between the ages of 10 and 18. Although, the time to take a course in boating safety can pay back huge dividends regardless of what your age. A couple of advantages of taking such courses are lowered boat insurance and increase in your boating safety skills.
With the increasing population enjoying the waters of New York, it is imperative to know the boating laws, rules and regulations. This is by no means a full collection of all the boating laws, rules and regulations, and all boaters should contact their Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation for the complete listing.
New York boating laws as well as federal law requires all watercraft to be registered with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. The following vehicles are exempt from New York state registration: boats either operating commercially with a U.S. or foreign document; boats legally registered in another state for at least 90 consecutive days, lifeboats, competition race boats; or non-mechanically propelled vessel such as paddle boats. All boat trailers running on New York State’s public highways must also be registered, insured, and inspected.
Certain equipment is required on all boats for the safety of the driver and possible passengers. This is a list of some of the requirements, and by no means to be considered inclusive:
o Personal Flotation Devices: One United States Coast Guard (USCG) approved flotation device per person per weight and size. Any boat 16 feet or longer must also carry an IV toss personal floatation device. All floatation devices must be serviceable and easily accessible.
o Visual Distress Equipment: Any boat 16 feet or longer must carry by New York boating laws USCG approved distress equipment. This can be accomplished by carrying 3 approved night and day hand held flares or any approved electric distressed lightening devices for night or an orange distress flag for day.
o Fire Extinguishers: One B-I USCG approved fire extinguisher must be aboard every mechanically propelled boat that is less then 26 feet.
o Anchor: All mechanically propelled boats must carry an anchor and ample strength and length line to operate it correctly.
o Anchor Lights
o Whistle or Horn
o Navigation Lights
o Bell: the reason behind a bell is to assist in the observance of navigation rules when anchored or grounded when vision is reduced or limited.
o Other suggested equipment by the USCG but not mandated are a First Aid Kit, oar or paddle, tool kit, compass, marine radio, boat hook and spare parts in case of mechanical difficulties.
New York boating laws states boats speeds are not to exceed 5 mph when within 100 feet of the shore, a dock, pier, raft, float, or anchored boat. Speeds off shorelines vary as well so make sure you check on speed regulations with the local enforcement before boating to ensure a safe enjoyable time on the water.