New Jersey Safe Boating Laws
NJ Boating Law Age Restrictions
There are two minimum age requirements for operating a powered vessel in New Jersey:
• You must be at least 13 years of age to operate:
– Vessels powered by electric trolling motors
– Vessels 12 feet or longer with less than 10 total horsepower
• You must be at least 16 years of age to operate all other power vessels, including personal watercraft (this includes out-of-state residents)
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.
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.
Sign Up for Safety First Boating School Classes Today and Avoid Costly Violations!
These are some of the penalties you could face for boating law violations in New Jersey:
Operating a powerboat without a NJ Boating Safety Certificate: minimum $100 fine, maximum $500 fine.
Failing to carry or exhibit a boat license when operating a powerboat on non-tidal waters: up to $500 fine and/or up to 60 days imprisonment.
Boating while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (BWI) on tidal or non-tidal waters is extremely dangerous and carries severe penalties.
• Loss of right to operate vessel in NJ for 12 months
• Fine $250-$400
• Loss of Driver’s License up to 12 months
A complete list of boating laws and penalties can be found at: