New Jersey Boating Laws and Regulations (2022)

Who needs a New Jersey Boating Safety Certificate?

All boaters who operate a motorized watercraft in New Jersey must have a New Jersey Boat Safety Certificate. BOATERexam.com® is a delegated provider for the New Jersey State Police.

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New Jersey Boating Laws and Regulations (1)

New Jersey Boating Laws and Regulations (2)

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New Jersey State Police

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New Jersey Boating Laws and Regulations (3)

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  • Personal Flotation Devices
  • New Jersey Boat Registration
  • Certificate of Number

New Jersey Boating Laws and Regulations (4)

Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs aka Life Jackets)

When boating in New Jersey, boat owners are required to have at least one U.S. Coast Guard approved Type IV Personal Flotation Device (PFD), either a ring buoy or seat cushion, aboard recreational boats 16 feet and longer.

In addition, New Jersey boaters are required to carry at least one wearable Type I, II, III or V PFD for each person on board, regardless of the length of the watercraft. The PFDs must be readily accessible.

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Under New Jersey law, the following PFD regulation also apply:

  • The state of New Jersey requires all persons being towed behind a vessel to wear a PFD at all times.
  • All personal watercraft occupants must wear a PFD.
  • Inflatable PFDs are not approved for children nor are they approved for use during high impact sports such as water skiing or operating a PWC.

PFD Requirements for Children

All boaters or passengers 12 years of age and younger must wear a PFD while the vessel is underway. This regulation however, does not apply in the following instances:

  • If the child is on a vessel that is owned by the U.S. Government, the state of New Jersey or one of their agencies, a county or municipal government, or on any type of search and rescue vessel.
  • If the child is on any vessel that is longer than 65 feet being used for commercial reasons which requires a U.S. Coast Guard Operator's or Master's License.
  • If the child is on a ferry; or
  • If the child is inside a fully enclosed cabin that is a permanent non-removable part of the vessel that is designed to carry passengers.

New Jersey Boating Laws and Regulations (5)

Alcohol & Boating Under the Influence (BUI)

Operating under the influence of alcohol, drugs or narcotics is a serious offense in New Jersey. A boater with a blood alcohol content of .08% or more shall be presumed to be under the influence of alcohol.

If a boater is found to have a blood alcohol content of less than .10%, boat operating privileges will be revoked for a period of 12 months from the date of conviction and a fine ranging from $250 to $400 will be issued. In addition, the boater will have their driver's license suspended for a period of 3 months and forwarded to the Director of the Motor Vehicles Commission.

If a boater is found to have a blood alcohol content greater than .10%, or if found to be operating under the influence of any narcotic, hallucinogenic, or habit-producing drug, boat operating privileges will be revoked for a period of 12 months from the date of conviction and a fine ranging from $300 to $500 will be issued. In addition, the boater will have their driver's license suspended for a period of 7 months and forwarded to the Director of the Motor Vehicles Commission.

If convicted of a second offense, a boater’s operating privileges will be revoked for a period of 24 months from the date of conviction and a fine ranging from $500 to $1,000 will be issued. The boater will also have their driver's license suspended for a period of 24 months and forwarded to the Director of the Motor Vehicles Commission. In addition, a second conviction will include mandatory jail time, with a minimum term of 48 hours but not more than 90 days, as well as 30 days of community service.

If convicted of a third offense or any subsequent convictions, boat operating privileges will be revoked for a period of 10 years from the date of conviction and a fine of $1,000 will be issued. The boater’s driver's license will be suspended for a period of 10 years and forwarded to the Director of the Motor Vehicles Commission. In addition, a third conviction will include mandatory jail time, with a term of no less than 180 days, however the court may choose to lower this by a day for each day of community service that is performed up to a maximum of 90 days.

All boaters found guilty of operating under the influence will be required to successfully complete a state-approved Boating Safety Course.

New Jersey Boating Laws and Regulations (6)

New Jersey Boat Registration

The New Jersey State Police regulate the state boating laws in New Jersey.

To use New Jersey waterways, all boats more than 12 feet in length must be titled at a Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) Agency. All titled boats must be registered. In addition, all power vessels, regardless of length, must be registered. Any of the documents accepted for titling are also acceptable for registration. If the boat is not titled, you will have to show proof of ownership.

Every vessel in New Jersey waters shall be registered and numbered except:

  • A ship's lifeboat
  • A non-powered: canoe, kayak, inflatable boat, surfboard, rowing scull, and racing shell;
  • Tender or dinghy used solely for direct transportation between a vessel and shore;
  • Non-powered boats 12 feet or less in length.

Additionally, all titled boats must be registered. Any of the documents accepted for titling are also acceptable for registration. If the boat not titled, you will have to show proof of ownership.

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New Jersey Boating Laws and Regulations (7)

Certificate of Number

Boat owners must have at least a temporary Certificate of Number (registration) before they can operate in state waters. If the vessel is greater than 12 feet in length, the boat owner must first obtain the boat title before the Certificate of Number.

Once the Certificate of Number is issued, it must be kept on board when the vessel is being operated. The Motor Vehicle Commission must be notified within 7 days if the boat owner changes residences.

The Certificate of Number, validation decals and title are obtained by submitting the proper application and fee to an authorized boat registration agent or to the Motor Vehicle Commission.

Motor Vehicle Commission
P.O. Box 160
Trenton, NJ 08666-0017
Tel: 609-292-6500 or Toll Free in NJ: 888-486-3339

New Jersey Boating Laws and Regulations (8)

Personal Watercraft Laws & Regulations

Personal watercraft are very powerful for their small size and demand the same respect as any size boat. That means PWC operators must follow the same rules and regulations as powerboat operators, including registering the watercraft with the state and carrying a B-1 fire extinguisher on board.

There are also some additional requirements for operating a PWC in New Jersey.

A person shall not operate a personal watercraft:

  • On the waters of the State between sunset and sunrise, or during any time of restricted visibility as determined by an agent or officer of the Marine Law Enforcement Bureau, Division of State Police;
  • Within the confines of the Point Pleasant Canal in the County of Ocean, or the Cape May Canal in the County of Cape May;
  • Above the minimum headway speed within 100 feet of:
    • Buoys or signs that mark the boundaries of a swimming area;
    • The shoreline o Any person in the water;
    • Residential dwelling units; or.
  • In such a manner as to make the vessel completely leave the water or otherwise become airborne within 100 feet of another vessel.

The operator of a personal watercraft designed to accommodate three or more persons is permitted to tow a water skier provided that the watercraft has the capacity to allow one of the persons to face the stern of the watercraft for the purpose of tending to a ski rider, and that the person tending to the ski rider is present during the towing of the ski rider.

Any person operating a personal watercraft and any passenger on a personal watercraft must at all times, when the personal watercraft is in operation, wear a U.S. Coast Guard Approved Type I, II, III or V Hybrid Personal Flotation Device. The operator of any vessel equipped with a lanyard cut-off switch must wear the safety switch lanyard at all times when the vessel is in operation.

Hours of Operation

Personal watercraft may only be operated between the hours of sunrise and sunset. It is prohibited outside of these hours as well as during periods of reduced visibility.

All those operating a motorized watercraft in New Jersey,
must have a New Jersey Boat Safety Certificate.

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FAQs

New Jersey Boating Laws and Regulations? ›

A person 13 through 15 years of age may operate a vessel powered by an electric motor or vessels 12 feet or longer and powered by a motor less than 10 hp only if he or she has successfully passed a boating safety education course approved by the New Jersey State Police.

What is required to operate a boat in NJ? ›

A boat license and New Jersey Boat Safety Certificate are required to operate a power vessel or personal watercraft - jet ski or wave runner - on non-tidal waters of New Jersey. A boat license is not required for non-powered vessels.

What size boat requires a license in NJ? ›

New Jersey Boat Registration

To use New Jersey waterways, all boats more than 12 feet in length must be titled at a Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) Agency. All titled boats must be registered. In addition, all power vessels, regardless of length, must be registered.

Can you drink alcohol on a boat in NJ? ›

“One of the things most people don't realize is in New Jersey is that if you're convicted of operating a boat under the influence, you'll lose your driving privileges along with your boating privileges,” said Sgt. Christopher Jones. But the message is hard to get out because drinking while boating is technically legal.

How old do you have to be to operate a boat in New Jersey? ›

All persons 16 years of age or older may operate any power vessel including personal watercraft on New Jersey waters if they have successfully completed a state approved New Jersey Boating Safety Course and have a New Jersey Boating Safety Certificate in their possession available for inspection by an enforcement ...

Who needs a New Jersey Boating Safety Certificate? All boaters who operate a motorized watercraft in New Jersey must have a New Jersey Boat Safety Certificate. BOATERexam.com® is a delegated provider for the New Jersey State Police.*Exam dates information » Get Certified $34.95Returning use...

All boaters who operate a motorized watercraft in New Jersey must have a New Jersey Boat Safety Certificate.. The New Jersey State Police regulate the state boating laws in New Jersey.. The Certificate of Number, validation decals and title are obtained by submitting the proper application and fee to an authorized boat registration agent or to the Motor Vehicle Commission.. That means PWC operators must follow the same rules and regulations as powerboat operators, including registering the watercraft with the state and carrying a B-1 fire extinguisher on board.. All those operating a motorized watercraft in New Jersey,must have a New Jersey Boat Safety Certificate.. A person 13 through 15 years of age may operate a vessel powered by an electric motor or vessels 12 feet or longer and powered by a motor less than 10 hp only if he or she has successfully passed a boating safety education course approved by the New Jersey State Police.. A boat license and New Jersey Boat Safety Certificate are required to operate a power vessel or personal watercraft - jet ski or wave runner - on non-tidal waters of New Jersey.. All persons 16 years of age or older may operate any power vessel including personal watercraft on New Jersey waters if they have successfully completed a state approved New Jersey Boating Safety Course and have a New Jersey Boating Safety Certificate in their possession available for inspection by an enforcement .... | New Jersey Boating

Everything you need to know about New Jersey boating laws and regulations. Includes life jacket requirements, boat accident reporting and more.

All operators must meet these age and education requirements in order to operate a motorized vessel.. A person 13 through 15 years of age may operate a vessel powered by an electric motor or vessels 12 feet or longer and powered by a motor less than 10 hp only if he or she has successfully passed a boating safety education course approved by the New Jersey State Police.. A person 16 years old or older, may operate a motorized vessel if they have successfully completed an approved boating safety course.. Those not based in New Jersey or operating here less than 180 consecutive days that are operating under a federally approved numbering system from another state Ship’s lifeboats Non-motorized vessels used exclusively on small lakes and ponds on private property Racing vessels with New Jersey State Marine Police permit Non-motorized inflatable device, surfboard, racing shell, dinghy, canoe or kayak Non-motorized vessel less than 12 feet in length. A person 16 years old or older, may operate a motorized vessel if they have successfully completed an approved boating safety course.. A person can be convicted of boating under the influence (BUI) for operating a vessel while:. A first-offense BUI involving alcohol impairment or a BAC of .08% or greater but less than .1% carries $250 to $400 in fines, a one-year boating privilege suspension, and a three-month driver’s license suspension.. A first-offense BUI involving drug impairment or a BAC of .1% or greater carries $300 to $500 in fines, a one-year boating privilege suspension, and driver’s license suspension of seven months to one year.. As required by the Navigational Rules International-Inland, if you are involved in a boating accident, you are required to render any assistance necessary to any of the people involved in the accident as long as you can do so without causing any further injuries or damage to any of the people or vessels involved.. If the accident that you are involved in results in property 30 damage in excess of $500, injury or the death or disappearance of a person, you and the other operator are required to file a full description of the accident with the New Jersey State Police, Marine Law Enforcement station in the area where the accident occurred.. If you are involved in a boating accident on the waters of the State of New Jersey, which includes up to three (3) nautical miles offshore, in which death or disappearance of a person occurs, you must report the accident without delay to the New Jersey State Police, Marine Law Enforcement station in the area where the accident occurred.. All other boating accidents that result in personal injury or property damage in excess of $2,000 must be reported within ten (10) days to the New Jersey State Police, Marine Law Enforcement.

Whether you intend to take your kayak onto the open ocean or out on one of the many rivers in the state, you should know the laws that apply to kayaking in New Jersey.

If you desire legal advice, consult a competent, licensed attorney in your area.. New Jersey Kayaking Laws – New Jersey law considers kayaks and canoes to be non-motorized vessels.. This includes a trolling motor on a canoe or kayak.. Kayak Operator Licensing in New Jersey – Non-motorized kayaks may be used without a special license or registration.. (See below for further restrictions) Kayaking BUI Law – New Jersey has a Boating Under the Influence (BUI) law .. Kayaking Life Jacket Law – All vessels must be equipped with a Type I, II, III, or V PFD for each person on board.. Kayaking VDS Law – All vessels are required to carry night signaling devices .. All motorized watercraft, unless specifically exempted, must be registered with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle.. Do you need a license to kayak in New Jersey?. You do not need a license to operate a kayak or canoe in New Jersey.. Do you need a license to operate a motorized kayak in New Jersey?. Motorized vessels, including kayaks or canoes with trolling motors over 16 feet, must carry daytime VSD signaling devices.

It’s going to be difficult to separate worlds here, as I’m talking about attending a US LawShield seminar, but only because of my history with the program attorney for my jurisdiction. I assure you my...

When I met Nappen in 2014, it was at Gun for Hire at the Woodland Park Range , and he was giving one of his New Jersey gun law seminars.. From my notes that day, the first lines were:. There was a registration table with the US LawShield people, there I checked in.. We all got to play a fun game called “Is this gun Legal?” Through the exercise, Nappen would show different firearms, and participants would take a stab at the legality or illegality of the firearm based on New Jersey’s law and case law.. If I ever get a chance to go to some in other states, I sure would.. Would I recommend going to a US LawShield seminar?

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