It’s back to school time soon for all New York State boat owners and operators.

Starting in 2020, assuming the Governor signs a bill already passed in the Assembly and the Senate, NY will require all owners and operators of motorized boats – from small boats with outboard motors to the big cabin cruisers – to take a safe boating course, regardless of how long they have owned and operated a boat. That will also include users of personal watercraft such as jet skis to pass the course as well.

That’s because the New York State Legislature has approved a new law, Brianna’s Law, which was created in memory of Brianna Lieneck, an 11-year-old killed in 2005 when another boat smashed into her family’s cabin cruiser off the coast of Long Island.

The New York State Senate approved the legislation in May and the state Assembly approved it in June, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signaled that he will sign it into law. The new law is expected to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020, but there will be a five-year phase-in period to be announced when the law is signed.

A state law approved in 2014 said that anyone born after May 1, 1996, has to successfully complete a state-approved boater education course before operating a motorized boat or personal watercraft.

The new law removes that date and will require anyone of any age who owns and operates a motorized boat or personal watercraft to pass a state class.

The state says there are approximately 450,000 registered powerboats statewide.

The courses provide training on boat handling, use of navigation instruments and floatation devices, as well as relevant state laws concerning boating operation and safety. There is a five-year phase-in to allow boat operators adequate time to comply with this new requirement.

Owners and operators will be able to take certified safety classes online or in a classroom. Costs can range from $10 to $60, state officials said. The boating safety courses must be approved by the commissioner of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Thanks for reading,


Jim Reed
Managing Partner
Best Lawyers’ “2015 & 2017 & 2019 Lawyer of the Year”
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
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