New York State Navigation Law
The New York State Legislature
publishes all the laws of the State on the web. Select the link for Laws of New York at the bottom of the page. The Navigation Law is
listed under NAV. Article 3 concerns itself with the navigable water of the state, while Article 4 covers the conduct of vessels.
The Vehicle and Traffic Law (VAT), Title 11, Article 48, covers the registration of vessels. The Department of Motor Vehicles
administers the registration of vessels, and they have an excellent FAQ that can be accessed on their website.
Laws regarding the use of the lands under the water, including docks, can be fond in the Public Lands Law (PBL), Article 6. The
Office of General Services
administers these provisions.
Lake George also has rules and regulations unique to that waterway. For more information, please visit the
Lake George Park Commission's website.
Navigation Law Updates
Life Jacket Wear Requirements
Beginning November 1, 2009, Section 40, Subdivision 1 of the Navigation Law shall be amended by adding new paragraph (e),
which reads as follows:
No owner or operator of a pleasure vessel less than twenty-one feet, including rowboats, canoes,
and kayaks shall permit its operation, between November first and May first, unless each person on board such vessel is wearing
a securely fastened United States Coast Guard approved wearable personal flotation device of an appropriate size when such
vessel is underway.
Failure to wear a lifejacket on such vessels will be considered a violation under Section 73-c if the Navigation Law and is
punishable by a fine of not less than $25 nor more than $100, applicable to either the operator and/or the owner of the vessel.
Personal Watercraft Rentals
The Navigation Law has been amended to extend the expiration date of Section 73-a, Subdivision 2, regarding the rental of
personal watercraft. Persons over the age of 18 renting personal watercraft may continue to operate them without having to hold
a boating safety certificate. This provision, set to expire on January 1, 2012, will now expire in 2014.
No other changes have been made to this section.