Boating in New York
Copyright © 2011 Lake Pleasant Marine, All rights reserved. Some photos and videos compliments of Premier Marine and Evinrude
The following are answers to the most common questions regarding New York State boating regulations and laws.
These regulations apply to all boat rentals.
Click on a particular question to jump to it’s answer.
Q: How old do you have to be to rent a boat?
-You must be at least 18 years old, and present a valid drivers license to rent a boat.
Q: How old do you have to be to operate a boat?
-If 18 years or older, you do not need a boating license to operate a boat.
-If between 10 and 17 years old, you may operate a boat under the supervision of an adult 18 years or older. OR you may operate a boat alone if you have and carry a New York State approved boating License.
- Children under 10 years old may not operate a motor boat.
Q: Do I need a license to drive a jet ski (PWC)?
-Yes, as of a few years ago, everyone, regardless of age must have a New York State recognized boating license to operate a PWC.
-Online boating classes do not fulfill this requirement, only completion of an 8-hour classroom proctored course and passing a written exam is recognized by New York State.
- Operators must be at least 14 years old to operate a PWC.
Q: What other rules are there regarding PWC’s?
-PWC’s may not jump the wake of another boat.
-PWC’s may not carry more people than recommended by the manufacturer. This includes any people in tow. For Example: if skiing behind a 3-seater PWC, the PWC may only have a driver and a spotter, the skier in tow accounts for the third seat. Therefore, PWC’s with less than a 3-person maximum capacity should not tow skiers, tubes, etc.
- PWC’s may not be operated between the hours of sunset and sunrise.
Q: What equipment must I have in the boat at all times?
-All propelled vessels except PWC’s must carry an anchor and anchor line.*
-All vessels must have enough PFD’s on board for each passenger*.
- One Type V throwable PFD is also required per vessel.*
Also required are:
¨ Flares or a distress flag*
¨ Marine Type USCG B-I fire extinguisher*
¨ Working horn, whistle or air horn*
¨ Navigation lights for night time boating*
* These items are provided with all boat rentals.
Q: What are the laws about wearing a life jacket (PFD)?
-Children under 12 years old must wear a fitted PFD at all times.
-All PWC operators and passengers must wear a fitted PFD.
-All skiers, tubers, wake boarders, and anyone else being towed behind a vessel must wear a PFD.
Q: Are there speed limits?
-Yes, there are state mandated speed limits, however there is no maximum speed limit on
Lake Pleasant, Piseco or Sacandaga, as long as you are more than 100 feet from any shoreline. There are also NO maximum horsepower limits on these lakes.
-5 MPH Maximum within 100 feet of shoreline, docks, piers, rafts, floats, anchored boats,
and marked, regulation swim areas.
Q: What are the rules for skiing, tubing, wakeboarding etc.?
-When towing someone on skis, tubes etc, you must always have a designated spotter at least 10 years old facing the skier or tuber and communicating with the driver.
- Waterskiing, tubing etc can only occur between sunrise and sunset.
- Other boats must yield right of way to any boat pulling a skier, tuber, etc. Be sure to stay far
enough away from any boat pulling a skier so that they have enough room to turn quickly should the skier fall.
- When towing a person, make sure you always have enough room to turn around on all sides of the boat if the skier falls.
- If the skier falls, when going around to pick him/her up, always keep the person in the water on the starboard side (driver side) of the boat.
Q: What about boating at night?
-These lakes do NOT have lit markers or buoys. Boating at night can be dangerous and should only be done by an operator who is very familiar with the lake. Navigation lights must be used after sunset, and the anchor light must be on if not in motion.
The following are all considered illegal by New York State regarding motor boating…
-Speeding in no-wake zones
-Operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Allowing passengers to ride in areas of a boat not designated for passengers.
For example: the bow of a pontoon boat in front of the playpen.
- Operating a boat exceeding the weight or number of passengers limit (whichever comes first)
Keeping our Lakes Clean
- Due to highly invasive lake weeds and plants, we ask that you please make sure your boat is clean and free of any weeds before launching. Small sections of invasive weeds such as Eurasian milfoil can get caught on propellers, outdrives, speedometer pickups etc and can infest a lake once introduced to it. Species like Eurasian milfoil is becoming a serious problem in the Adirondack lakes. Once infested, it is nearly impossible to fix the problem, and milfoil can suffocate the entire ecosystem of a lake.
Simply washing your boat after taking it out of a lake and before putting it into another can prevent the spread of these invasive weeds.