New York State Makes Recent Changes to Boater Safety Laws

It’s summertime and that means fun on the water for Central New York boaters! There are recent changes in both New York boater safety laws and boating insurance rules that all boat owners and operators need to know in order to protect both themselves and others. A good source of information about safe boating rules and regulations is the New York State Department of Parks and Recreation. You can learn more at https://parks.ny.gov/recreation/boating/.

Patricia Stegemann


Recent changes include the enactment of Brianna’s Law on January 1, 2020. Named after Brianna Lieneck, an 11-year old Long Island girl who was killed in a 2005 boating accident, the law requires all motorboat operators to complete a boating safety course. The requirement will be phased in based on the boat operator’s age.


As of January 1, 2020, all New Yorkers born after January 1, 1993 must pass a course. All New Yorkers born after January 1, 1988 must pass a course by January 1, 2022, and all New Yorkers born after January 1, 1978 must pass a course by January 1, 2024. After that, regardless of age, all New York boat operators will be required to pass a state-approved boater safety course by January 1, 2025.


Failure to comply with Brianna’s Law could result in fines ranging from $100 to $250. Only courses sanctioned on the websites of the New York State Parks and the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary will qualify for the permanent boating safety certificate. You must be at least 10-years old to take the course and they are offered both online and in person. The best place to start looking for approved boater safety courses is at http://parks.ny.gov/recreation/boating/education.aspx.


To encourage all boaters to comply with these boater safety course requirements, the New York Legislature recently passed Senate Bill S3688A, which was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Effective January 1, 2021, this new law amends New York Navigation Law §78-a and adds §2336-b to the New York Insurance Law and provides for mandatory liability insurance rate reduction upon the completion of a qualifying boater safety course or an advanced boating safety course.


So, take that course! You will save some money and you could save a life!