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Boating & Paddling

As required by Brianna's Law, all motorboat operators must complete a boating safety course and obtain a certificate from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. New age requirements began January 1, 2020, with full compliance by January 1, 2025
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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.

Places to Launch Your Boat

Boating Requirements

Be sure to adhere to all boating regulations and requirements prior to launching, including properly cleaning your boat, getting your boat registered, and obtaining boater safety certification. Details on each of these requirements are provided below.

Boat Cleaning and Disinfecting

Boats, trailers, waders and other fishing equipment can spread harmful aquatic invasive species from waterbody to waterbody unless properly cleaned after use. DEC regulations prohibit boats from launching or leaving sites without first draining the boat and cleaning the boat, trailer and equipment. Furthermore, 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.

To avoid spreading invasive species, follow the 'Clean.Drain.Dry.' method for properly disinfecting your boat and equipment before launching. If you need help, many public boat launches have boat stewards on-site to inspect your watercraft and gear.
Use our interactive map feature to locate a boat inspection station and boat steward near you.

Certificate Requirements for Boating in the Adirondack Park: As of June 2022, all boaters operating any kind of motorized watercraft in the Adirondack Park and within ten miles of the Blue Line are required by law to possess certification that their vessel has undergone the proper cleaning measures to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Boaters can get their certification from a boat steward at a DEC designated inspection station or by completing a self-issued certificate (PDF) prior to launch. Have questions about this new regulation? See our Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

Register Your Boat at the DMV

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 (leaves DEC website) or call the DMV at (518) 486-9786. (Note: In New York, watercraft without a motor do not need to be registered.)

Boating Safety Courses and Certification

For information about boating certificate requirements and boating safety courses, call the OPRHP at (518) 474-0456 or visit the OPRHP boating education page. (leaves DEC website)

More about Boating & Paddling:

  • Paddling - General information on paddling in New York State includes recommended places for whitewater, flat water, and extended trips with links to rules & regulations.