If you like to go boating on lakes and rivers in New York you might want to check to see if you need to take a boater safety course this year or you could be facing big fines.

The boating laws changed in New York last year when Brianna’s Law was passed in 2019 requiring all boater operators to have passed a boater safety course before they can operate a motorboat. The new law doesn't discriminate on age either. You have to take a boating safety class no matter how old you are or how much boating experience you have.

Brianna's Law is legislation in honor of 11-year-old Brianna Lieneck who was killed in a boating accident in Long Island’s Great South Bay in 2005. Brianna's mother lobbied lawmakers to pass the boater safety bill.

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The good news is that the new law is being done in phases over five years. This year all boat operators born after Jan 1, 1993, need to have a boating safety certificate. By 2025 all boating operators, regardless of age, will have to have a boating safety course or risk fines.

According to www.newyourkupstate.com, here's the rest of the phase-in plan.

  • Those born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2022.
  • Those born on or after Jan. 1, 1983, will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2023.
  • Those born on or after Jan. 1. 1978 will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2024.
  • All motorboat operators regardless of age will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2025.

See the NYS Parks website for dates of a boating safety class being offered near you and information about the state-approved online courses. Students must be at least 10- years old to participate in both classroom or online courses. Classes are offered in-person and online and take about eight hours to complete.

Once you have passed the boating safety course you need to have your certificate on you when you operate a boat. You can also have it noted on your driver's license.

If you are caught operating a motorboat in New York without a required boating safety certificate you could be fined $100 to $250.

 

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