Frequently Asked Questions about New York Boating Regulations & Laws

Q. What is the "New York Boating Safety Certificate"?

A. A. The New York Boating Safety Certificate (mistakenly referred to as the New York certificate) is proof of successful completion of an approved New York Safe Boating course. The Boating Safety Certificate must be carried with you whenever you are operating a powered watercraft to avoid high fines.

Q. Do I have to get the New York Boating Safety Certificate?

A. If you were born on or after May 1, 1996, you are required to successfully complete a state approved course and obtain a boating safety certificate to operate a motorboat. Additionally, all persons, regardless of age, must complete a Boating Safety Education Course in order to operate a PWC on NYS waters. The required boating safety certificate must be carried at all times while operating the boat.

Q. Can I take an online safety course to get my certification?

A. Yes. As of May 1, 2014, successfully completing the online® New York Boating Safety course will meet New York States mandatory education requirement for operating a motorboat for all individuals born on or after May 1, 1996.

Q. How do I get my New York Boating Safety Certificate?

A. You can obtain your New York Boater Education Card in 3 easy steps:

  1. Pay the one-time fee of $29.95 — free unlimited retries of the final exam
  2. Study the New York Boating Safety Course and pass the final exam
  3. Print a temporary card immediately and receive your permanent card in the mail within 3-5 weeks

Q. What is the minimum age to operate a powered vessel in New York?

A. Individuals less than 18 years of age who have not successfully completed a boating safety course may only operate a vessel while under the direct supervision of an individual who is 18 years or age or older.

Q. What is the minimum age to operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC) in New York?

A. As of January 1, 2005 all personal watercraft operators must be 14 years of age or older and must successfully complete a Boating Safety Education Course to operate personal Watercraft in the state of New York.

Q. How long is the boat safety course and boater safety certificate good for?

A. The boater safety certificate is good for life.

Q. How much does the boat safety course cost?

A. There is a one-time fee of $29.95 paid to®. It includes unlimited attempts at the final exam. Learn more about's Risk-Free Policy.

Q. Is there a time limit to complete the final exam?

A. You can take the final exam at any time, day or night. The exam is not timed but inactive exams will be erased after 24 hours.

Q. Is there a time limit to complete the online course?

A. You can take the online course at any time, day or night. However, courses must be completed within 90 days of payment at which time your access to the course will expire.

Q.What do I need to pass the boater safety course?

A. You need a grade of 76% or higher on the boater safety course test to pass. That means 46 correct answers out of 60.

Q. Can I review my Boater Exam answers?

A. Yes, once you have completed the boater safety course test and submitted all your answers they are graded immediately. You have the opportunity to review all your Boater Exam answers, whether you have passed or failed the Boater Exam.

Q. Are there Boater Exam practice tests or sample boater exam questions available?

A. Throughout the boat safety course, you can take end-of-chapter-quizzes that prepare you for the final exam. These chapter quizzes are short boater exam practice tests that cover the same topics that are present in the boater safety course test.

Q. Is anyone exempt from getting the Boating Safety Certificate?

A. Yes. The following individuals are exempt from the PWC Educational requirements:

  • Both U.S. and Canadian licensed commercial vessel operators,
  • State certified instructors,
  • Certified instructors of the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Power Squadrons,
  • Police/peace officers, fire/rescue personnel and lifeguards acting pursuant to their assigned duties.® Risk Free Policy

Our Risk Free Policy is designed so you can feel confident about choosing® to get your Alabama Boater Card. We offer two simple money-back guarantees:

1. You will pass the course

Over 98% of our students pass the final exam on the first try! If, however, you don't pass the final exam, just give us a call and we'll issue a full refund.

2. You will be satisfied with your® experience

97% of our students recommend the online course to others. Our course is the best in the industry and we stand behind that promise. If we don't meet your expectations, call us for a full refund.

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