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What better way to make the most of your down time than acquiring your Safe Boating Certificate.
By Fred Golofaro  |  April 6, 2020
Brianna’s Law will require most New York boaters to complete a safe boating course within the next few years.

A new law known as Brianna’s Law (S.5685/A.4853) that went into effect January 1, 2020 requires all operators of motorized watercraft to complete a state approved boating safety course. It expands an earlier law signed by Governor Cuomo that requires boaters born after May 1, 1996 to complete a safety course before operating a motorized watercraft.

Under the phase-in, operators of a motor boat born on or after:

  • 1/1/1993 must have completed a safety course beginning in 2020
  • 1/1/1988 must have completed a safety course beginning in 2022
  • 1/1/1983 must have completed a safety course beginning in 2023
  • 1/1/1978 must have completed a safety course beginning in 2024

All motor boat operators regardless of age beginning in 2025. Failure to comply could result in a fine of between $100 and $250. The law does not apply to operators of sailboats under sail, kayaks, standup paddleboards, rowboats or canoes. Also excluded are boating safety instructors; members of the United States Power Squadrons; members of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary; holders of public vessel licenses; those licensed to operate vessels by the United States Coast Guard or the Canadian Coast Guard; police officers, peace officers, fire personnel, rescue personnel or lifeguards when any such person is acting pursuant to assigned duties.

I cannot think of a better time to take an approved safe boating course on line than now when so many of us are spending much of our time confined to our homes due to the coronavirus. Regardless of where you fall in the required timeline, now would seem like the perfect time to get this done. Families that own a boat should consider having their children (the minimum age is ten) take the course. It could actually turn out to be a great family activity where everyone can study together and share their answers. Once you earn the Boating Safety Certificate, it is good for life. BoatU.S. offers the only free online boating course approved by New York State. Go to the BoatU.S. website to register.

For other options, go to the NYS Parks website.

For those who have thought about going a step further, Nautical School in Lindenhurst offers master license courses on line. If you already have your six pack captains license, now might be a good time to upgrade to a 100 or 200 gross ton Masters License. Go to the Nautical School website for details.