Boating & Paddling
New York State has more than 7,500 lakes, ponds and reservoirs and over 70,000 miles of rivers and streams. Boating on these waterbodies can take the form of canoes, kayaks, personal watercraft, sailboats and motorboats. Many lakes, ponds and streams in the Forest Preserves are restricted (link leaves DEC website) to non-motorized boating.
Places to Boat
DEC provides many boat access points at campgrounds and fishing access spots in the Adirondack and Catskills. This includes both car top and trailer access sites.
The publication titled "New York State Boat Launching Sites (PDF)" (2.96 MB) has recently been updated. It contains a listing of boating access and launching areas available to the public. Other helpful information on launching and retrieving your boat and aquatic invasive species is included. If interested in obtaining a hard copy of the New York State Boat Launching Sites Directory, send an email to Fisheries and include your name, mailing address and publication you are requesting.
Register Your Motorized Boat
In New York, watercraft without a motor do not need to be registered. If you use a motor (electric or fuel-driven), no matter how small the craft or the motor, you must register your boat with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You can either register your boat online (leaving DEC website) or call the DMV at (518) 486-9786.
Boating Requirements and Safety
For more information about boating requirements & boating safety, please call the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historical Preservation (OPRHP) at (518) 474-0456 or visit the OPRHP boating page (leaving DEC website).
Don't Spread Aquatic Invasive Species!
Boats, trailers, waders and other fishing equipment can spread invasive species from waterbody to waterbody unless properly cleaned after use. New regulations now prohibit boats from launching from or leaving DEC launch sites without first draining the boat and cleaning the boat, trailer and equipment of visible plant and animal material. Many New York counties, towns and villages also have laws in place that prohibit the transport of aquatic invasive species on boats, trailers and equipment. Although some invasive species such as water milfoil are readily visible to the human eye, many others are too small to be readily noticed.
To avoid spreading invasive species please follow the following guidelines or view our step by step guide to cleaning your boat and equipment:
1. Inspect your equipment; and REMOVE any visible mud, plants, fish or animals before transporting equipment.
2. Eliminate all water from equipment before transporting.
3. Clean and Dry anything that comes into contact with water including boats, trailers, waders, bait buckets and other boating and fishing equipment. Boaters should be particularly cognizant of bait & live wells and bilge areas that are difficult to dry.
4. Disinfect if you cannot dry equipment.
5. Never release plants, fish or animals into a body of water unless they came out of that body of water.
Boat Washing Stations
Marina, Lake Associations and Private Boat Launch Operators
Help us prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance invasive species by installing an Invasive Species Disposal Station at your facility. Also provided are standard signs reminding users to check, clean, drain, dry and disinfect their boats and equipment before using it at another location. These files can be downloaded and printed on a desktop printer for indoor applications or taken to a sign shop for mounting on weather resistant materials.
More about Boating & Paddling:
- Boat Launch Sites - A list of New York State Boat Launching Sites by county.
- Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations at DEC Boat Launching and Fishing Sites - Information on the regulations for launching or retrieving a watercraft at DEC controled access sites.
- Standard Aquatic Invasive Species Sign - Standard sign to be posted at all public boat launches in New York.
- Boat Washing and Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention in New York - Information about boat washing stations and preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species in New York.
- Aquatic Invasive Species Outreach and Education Materials - Downloadable signs for combating the spread of aquatic invasive species.
- Accessible Boat Launches Photo Gallery - A photo gallery of DEC boat launches designed without barriers to boaters with disabilities
- Paddling - General information on paddling in New York State includes recommended places for whitewater, flat water, and extended trips with links to rules & regulations.
- New York State Pumpout Facilities - Boaters are aware of and concerned about pollution threats facing our coastal waters. The primary goal of the Clean Vessel Act(CVA) is to reduce the overboard sewage discharge from recreational boats, and so it provides funds for the construction, renovation, operation, and maintenance of pumpout stations.
- Keep Waterways Clean - Tips on how proper boating practices can prevent pollution
- Diving Guidelines for Lake George's Shipwreck Preserves - Diving the Sunken Fleet of 1758 and the Forward Underwater Classroom are on a first-come, first-served basis. Both are open into the autumn.
- Onondaga Lake Navigation - Boating safety on Onondaga Lake has been enhanced due to the addition of navigational buoys.