Frequently Asked Questions

What is NASBLA?  NASBLA is the National Association of State Boating Law Administrator.  Only courses that are approved by NASBLA are recognized by other states.  By completing a course that is approved by NASBLA, you will receive a certificate from the course provider in addition to the state issued boating safety certificate.  When boating in a state other than NJ, you will need to show both the state certificate and the NASBLA certificate in order to legally operated a motor boat.  Most states do not recognize New Jersey Certificates unless they are accompanied by a certificate of completion from a NASBLA approved school.  New Jersey Boating Safety School is NASBLA approved!

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. 

What is the minimum age to receive a Boating Safety Certificate?  You may obtain a certificate at the age of 13 howerver you are limited to vessels that are 12 feet or longer with less than 10 horsepower until you are 16.  You can not operate a personal water craft in the state of New Jersey until you are 16. Person 12 years old are allowed to take a state approved boating safety course however they will not receive the certificate until they turn 13.

How long is the course?  All state approved boating safety courses are 8 hours long.  If the course is given in one day, it will be 8 hours.  That means 7 hours of instruction, and 1 hour for taking the test.  You will receive your Boating Safety Certificate upon completing the test.  If you take a two day course, you will receive 6 hours of instruction, 1 hour of homework, and 1 hour for the test.  You will receive your certificate upon successful completion.

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 taken a boating safety course in the past, will the New Jersey State Police issue a boat safety certificate based on this course? In most cases the New Jersey State Police cannot issue a New Jersey boat safety certificate to an individual who had completed a boat safety course in the past.

The Marine Services Bureau can issue New Jersey boat safety certificates based only on successful completion of an “Approved” boat safety course, the application(SP421) for which has been forwarded to the Marine Services Bureau by an approved course provider. For a course to be approved it must have been reviewed and approved by the Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, for the issuance of New Jersey boat safety certificates at the time that the course was administered. As required by regulation, an approved course must include a block of instruction on New Jersey laws and regulations, printed New Jersey course materials, and New Jersey State specific test questions. New Jersey boat safety Certificates cannot be issued based on courses taught out of State, unless that course had been approved by the Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police for the issuance of New Jersey boat safety certificates at the time that the course was administered.There were no approved boat safety courses in the State of New Jersey prior to January 19, 1988. If an individual has completed a boat safety course prior to that date, they cannot be issued a New Jersey boat safety certificate based on that course. Between January 19, 1988 and 1995, boat safety certificates were issued only to individuals who were under 17 years of age. These certificates had an expiration date that corresponded to the individuals 17th birthday. The certificates have not actually expired. Upon request, the Marine Services Bureau will issue an updated certificate to the individual, the new certificate will have no expiration date. See question 6 for information on obtaining a replacement certificate.Beginning in 1995 and continuing through the present, an approved boat safety course provider would have forwarded a SP421 application on behalf of an individual who had successfully completed an approved boat safety course. That individual would have been issued a temporary New Jersey boat safety certificate(pink copy of SP421) by the approved course provider and a permanent certificate would have been sent to the individual at a later date. If an individual had completed a boat safety course in this time frame, and they have not been issued a New Jersey boat safety certificate, it is possible that the course that was completed was not approved for the issuance of a New Jersey boat safety certificate.

There are some individuals who have successfully completed an approved boat safety course between January 19, 1988 and 1995, who were 17 years of age or older at the time of the course, and were not issued a New Jersey boat safety certificate. These individuals will be issued a New Jersey boat safety certificate by the Marine Services Bureau only if all of the following conditions are met:The course provider must have maintained a record verifying that the course was approved, at the time that it was administered, for the issuance of New Jersey boat safety certificates.The course provider must have maintained a record verifying that individuals attendance and successful completion of the course.The course provider must submit a SP421 in that individuals name, to the Marine Services Bureau.

If you believe that you have completed an approved boat safety course in the past, and have not been issued a New Jersey boat safety certificate, you must contact the boat safety course provider that administered the course. It is important to remember that the SP421 application must be submitted by the course provider, based on the course providers records, not on a diploma. If the course provider has failed to maintain a record of the course, they cannot submit a SP421, and a New Jersey boat safety certificate cannot be issued based on that course.

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 lpprobbj@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.

View Non-Tidal Boat Operator License Requirements (PDF – 23kb)

Exemption: 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)?

Download: Did You Remember PDF
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.

How can I locate a boating safety course? To find an approved boat safety course provider in your area you should check local newspapers, area night schools, and community colleges, or call 1(800)336-BOAT. You can also find information online at www.boatus.com/courseline , www.usps.org , or www.cgaux.org . Please remember that an individual wishing to obtain a New Jersey boat safety certificate must successfully complete a boating safety course that has been approved by the Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police for the issuance of New Jersey boating safety certificates. All approved online boating safety courses must also include a proctored, in-person, final exam.

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.