Like many in Manhattan, you may not equate recreational boating to driving. Certain aspects of this activity may even seem to support your assumption. After all, there are typically not nearly as many boats on New York’s lakes and rivers as there are on its roads, and it is not uncommon to bo out on the water and see a teen or even a child driving a boat. It is for these very reasons why so many of those that come to see us here at Tabak, Mellusi & Shisha LLP are so surprised to learn that people do indeed need to be licensed before they operate a boat.
This fact leads to the inevitable question of how old you must be to obtain a boating license. According to Kalkomey Enterprises, children as young as 10 years old can obtain a boating license (technically referred to as a Boating Safety Certificate). Once they have taken required the required course, they are then allowed to operate a boat on their own. Children under the age of 10 can also operate a boat, but they must be accompanied by you or another adult. To operate a personal watercraft (e.g. a jet ski), one must be at least 14 years old and have a valid boating license. Anyone under the age of 14 is not to drive a PWC (even with adult supervision).
As an adult, you may currently not be required to have a boating license (as long as you were born before May 1, 1996). However, that requirement will soon be changing. Starting in 2020, a six-year implementation phase will begin that will end with all boaters needing to be licensed. You can learn more about recreational boating requirements by continuing to explore our site.