Last October when County Resolution 830-2012 to establish boating safety requirements was signed by County Executive Bellone, Suffolk’s Charter Law “Suffolk’s Safer Waterways Act was official.

What does that mean? The new law states:
A. “No resident of Suffolk County shall operate a pleasure vessel upon the waters of Suffolk County unless the operator is the holder of a boating safety certificate issued by the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; by the United States Power Squadrons; by the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary; or by any entity that offers a boating course that meets the standards set by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators.”

B. All residents of Suffolk County operating a pleasure vessel upon the waters of Suffolk County shall maintain their boating certificate on board their vessel during all periods of operation

Now what:
If you are a Suffolk County resident and boat in Suffolk waters, you need to have taken, passed, and have proof of completing a National Association of Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) approved course. Boating certificates are required for vessel operators after November 4, 2013.
There are EXEMPTIONS: Instructors of US Power Squadron, Members of the USCG, USCG Auxiliary, and US Navy; police officers acting pursuant to assigned duties, lifeguards acting pursuant to assigned duties, fire and rescue personnel acting pursuant to the assigned duties, persons licensed to operate vessels by the USCG, and persons who hold boating safety certificates issued by other states or municipalities.

What do I need to do?
Unless you have successfully taken and completed a NY State Safe Boater’s Class, USCG Auxiliary or US Power Squadron Safe Boating Class and have proof, i.e. a certificate or card
with your name and the date on it, you will need to take a boating safety course. If you meet above requirements you do not need to retake a boating safety course. But, if you have previously taken a safety course and cannot find the certificate then you will be required to take the course again. The boating safety course is an eight hour course (the three hour personal watercraft course does not fulfill the requirement.)