Boating FAQ

Marine Bureau FAQ’s – Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a boat safety certificate?

Yes, if you are operating a personal watercraft (Jet Ski, Wave Runner, etc.), or a power vessel on the waters of the State of New Jersey you are required to possess a New Jersey boat safety certificate.

Exemptions:
A boat safety certificate is not required for non-powered vessels.

I live in another state, do I need a boat safety certificate?
Yes – Out-of-state residents are not exempt from the education requirement listed above; however, the law states that an out-of-State resident who is at least 16 years of age and who will be in this State for less than 90 days may operate a power vessel on the waters of the State of New Jersey if they possess a boat safety certificate issued by their state of residence, or if they possess written proof of successful completion of a boat safety course approved by another state, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators(N.A.S.B.L.A.) or the United States Coast Guard.

Can I operate a power vessel in the State of New Jersey if I possess a current United States Coast Guard operators license?
Yes, a person holding a current United States Coast Guard operator’s(captains) license, who is otherwise required to possess a boat safety certificate, may operate a power vessel on the waters of the State of New Jersey without having completed a boat safety course approved by the Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, provided that they have their captains license in their possession while operating.

The operators license can not be converted to a New Jersey boat safety certificate.

I have a state issued certificate from a state other than New Jersey, will the State of New Jersey issue a certificate based on that certificate?

No, as stated above, a New Jersey boat safety certificate can only be issued for successful completion of a boat safety course that has been approved by the Superintendent of State Police for the issuance of boat safety certificates, the application for which has been forwarded to the New Jersey State Police, on a New Jersey State Police application for boat safety certificate, by an approved boat safety instructor. Therefore, a New Jersey boat safety certificate can not be issued based on a certificate issued by another state, or any other agency, or for any course that has not been specifically approved for the issuance of a New Jersey boat safety certificate.

How can I get a replacement New Jersey boating safety certificate?
Only New Jersey State issued boating safety certificates can be replaced by the Marine Services Bureau. Certificates issued by other states, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Power Squadron, or any other agency can not be re-issued by the Marine Services Bureau.
The preferred means of communication with the Marine Services Bureau regarding certificate replacement is via e-mail, this will allow us to serve you in the most efficient means possible. E-mail requests should be sent to njboatcert@gw.njsp.org , scanned copies of the below information must be in .jpg/.bmp format or in a Microsoft word document. If it is not possible to e-mail your request you can request a replacement certificate by writing to:

NJSP BSC Replacement
BOX 7068
West Trenton, NJ 08628-0068

Requests may also be FAX’d to (609) 882-8110. Please be certain all of the information FAX’d is clearly legible.

Requests must include the following information;
1. Full legal name, in the case of a legal name change you must include your full legal name as it appeared on your original certificate as well as your current legal name, proof of name change(marriage certificate etc.) .
2. Complete address, in the case of a address change you must include your address as it appeared on your original certificate as well as your current address.
3. Identification and proof of address e.g., photocopy of drivers license etc.
4. Certificate number as it appears on your certificate( if known).
5. Home telephone with area code, daytime phone number with area code and an e-mail address.
6. Indicate the reason for requesting a replacement boating safety certificate. (Examples: Lost, Damaged, etc.).

What is the minimum age to operate a power vessel?
There are two minimum ages, 13 years old for vessels powered by electric trolling motors, or vessels 12′ or longer with less than 10 total HP.

Operators of all other power vessels, including personal watercraft, must be at least sixteen years old, this includes out-of-state residents.

Do I need a boat license?

A boat license is a separate document from a boat safety certificate and is required for operation on non-tidal water (water where the tide does not change) in the State of New Jersey. The boat license is not a replacement for a boat safety certificate, it is an additional requirement. On non tidal waters in the State of New Jersey you may need both, a boat safety certificate and a boat license. To obtain a boat license, go to your nearest NJ Division of Motor Vehicle Commission Facility. Persons must bring their NJ Boat Safety Certificate with them to apply for a boat license if they are required to possess a certificate for vessel operation.

EXEMPTIONS:

A boat license is not required for non-powered vessels.

Persons operating vessels less than 1 HP, vessels powered by 12 volt electric trolling motors or vessels 12′ or longer with less than 10 total HP are exempt from the license requirement.

Out-of-state residents with written proof of the successful completion of a boat safety course are exempt from the boat license requirement.

Does my boat need to be registered?

All power vessels and any vessel longer than 12′ must be registered. Vessels are registered by the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission (609)292-6500.

Do I have to wear a personal flotation device (PFD)?

All PWC operators and all persons 12 years old and under on any vessel must wear a United States Coast Guard approved personal flotation device while onboard any vessel that is underway. Underway means that the vessel is not anchored or tied to a dock, if it is drifting, sailing or being pushed by a motor it is underway.

The personal flotation device may be removed if the child is inside a fully enclosed, permanent part of the vessel that is designed by the manufacturer to carry passengers.

Although persons 13 years of age or older and persons not on personal watercraft are not required to wear a personal flotation device, there still must be a wearable personal flotation device onboard the vessel that is the correct size for each person. This wearable personal flotation device(s) must be readily accessible and in serviceable condition.

What is the boating safety test-out option, how do I know if I qualify to take it?

The Test-Out-Option expired June 1, 2009.