New York's Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation reports boaters and personal watercraft operators can now obtain a boating safety certificate by successfully completing an approved online course. Until now, the only option for the 20,000 people seeking a boating safety certificate in New York each year was to complete an eight-hour classroom-based course.
"New York state offers some of the best boating and fishing adventures in the country, and now we've made it much easier for young and new boaters to safely take up these great sports," State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said. "New York state is embracing the latest technologies to enable boaters and personal watercraft operators who need a boating safety certificate to more conveniently complete their coursework. Regardless of age or watercraft, it's a good idea for every boater to learn the basics of boating safety. Online boating education will make training available at a time and place best suited to the public, and help spread the message to even more New Yorkers."
To make New York's waterways safer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law in 2013 requiring anyone born on or after May 1, 1996, wanting to operate a motorboat, to obtain a boating safety certificate. The law is designed to ensure generations of new boaters receive comprehensive training about the risks and proper protocols of recreational boating before heading out on the water. The law also authorized State Parks to approve Internet-based boater education courses.
Two Internet-based boating education providers now offer the course in New York. Fees are set by the providers. Links to approved courses can be found on the State Parks website at http://nysparks.com/recreation/boating/boating-safety-class.aspx.
After successfully completing the course, a boating safety certificate will be issued. Boaters will then have the option of having the certification reflected on their state driver licenses, non-driver IDs or learner's permits through the New York "Adventure License" program. The personalized "Adventure License," which includes an anchor icon on the identification card, eliminates the need to carry a separate boating safety certificate. For more information on the Adventure License, visit http://licensecenter.ny.gov/.
These courses are approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, a national organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. This new format will augment New York's existing classroom course of instruction, which, when it was established in 1959, became the nation's first such program.
The new online boater education option underscores Cuomo's commitment to improving and expanding access to outdoor recreation. NY Parks 2020 is a multi-year commitment to leverage a broad range of private and public funding to invest approximately $900 million in state parks from 2011-20. The 2015-16 executive budget proposes $110 million toward this initiative.
For more information about boating safety - including listings of boating safety courses - and marine recreation in New York state, visit www.nysparks.com/recreation/boating.
In addition, the governor's "NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative" is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York state.
The State Parks Marine Service Unit is responsible for the general coordination of boating safety programs and supports marine law enforcement efforts across the state, including patrols, training and funding for local marine enforcement activities.