NY State Boating Laws

New York State law requires the operators of motorized watercraft to carry the proper safety gear. Please note that Upper Saranac Lake is patrolled and tickets will be issued if you are not in compliance.

NYS Boater's Guide | view

Also see: 

It's the Law 

Diver Flags

USCG Approved Safety Gear must be carried where marked (*) as Required.

Power boats

  • One (1) life preserver* of proper size for each person on board
  • Distress Flag*, Throwable Device*, Whistle or Horn, Anchor and Line, (3) Handheld Flares*.
  • Navigation lights for night operation and fog.
  • Children under 12 required to wear life preserver while underway.

In Addition on I/O And Inboards

Boats 16’ to less than 26’:

  • B-1 Fire Extinguisher*.

Boats 26’ to less than 40’:

  • (2) B-1* or 1 B-11 Fire Extinguisher*
  • Operators under 10 years old must be under direct supervision of person at least 18 years old.
  • Operators from 10 to 17 years old, as above or with approved boating safety certificate.

Non-Powered boats

  • Handheld Flares* and Lights for night operation only.

Personal Water Craft

  • Operator must be 14 years old with approved boater safety certificate on board.
  • Under 14 years old, must be accompanied by certified operator at least 18 years old.
  • (1) Life Preserver* per person (must be worn).
  • (1) B-1 Fire Extinguisher*
  • “Cut Off” switch lanyard attached to driver.
  • Whistle or Horn, Distress Flag*.
  • Seating available for all people being towed.

Navigation Rules

  • Overtaking: Boat being passed has right of way.
  • Meeting Head-On: Keep to right.
  • Crossing: Boat on the right (starboard) has the right of way. Stop, slow or pass astern.
  • Speed limit: 5 mph within 100’ of a raft, float or anchored boat and 500’ of a swim area.
  • Which boat has the right of way?(In order)
  • Hand powered boat, a”dead” boat, an anchored boat
  • Sail boat
  • Power boat

What you should also know!

  • Do not overload your boat – check the capacity plate.
  • Buoys may be missing or out of place.
  • There are unmarked hazards inside the buoys (5 mph please).
  • The recommended speed limit in Back Bay is 5 mph.
  • Green buoys on the left, red buoys on the right going upstream (red right return).