A to Z Resources for the New Boater

So you’ve got a new boat - congratulations! Being a boat owner, especially in an area as exciting and busy as Western New York, can be a thoroughly enjoyable and rich experience. But there’s also a lot to consider. Below are some resources to assist you on your boating journey, so that you can hit the water and enjoy the season!

Boat Maintenance


Get to know your new boat! You should get to know your boat, bow to stern. Knowing the ins and outs of your craft is essential to keeping your boat in proper operational shape, so that you and your passengers can continue to enjoy the water safely.




If you were born on or after May 1, 1996, you must complete a state approved course and obtain a New York boating safety certificate to operate a motorboat. Additionally, all individuals must complete a Boating Safety Education Course in order to operate a personal watercraft on New York waters. This safety certificate must be carried with you at all times while operating the boat.

Luckily, the New York State Parks & Recreation website acts as a resource to find a large number of online and onsite safety courses.


Crossing Borders (Canada)


If you’re planning a trip around both US and Canadian waters, you’re in luck. Under a 2017 Canadian Law, boaters may cross into international waters without registering with Canada’s customs officials. Once you dock, however, you will need to abide by all Canadian Customs rules and regulations. Below, you’ll find helpful links to Canada’s border requirements/rules, places to dock, etc.




In New York, insurance is not required to register your boat with the DMV. However, it’s important to consider purchasing New York boaters’ insurance to protect the investment of your water craft, and in case of injury to you and/or your passengers while on the water. 


International (Canadian) Water Laws

Canadian Boating Laws & Regulations


In New York all watercraft/boats that use a motor, regardless of size, must be registered. To make the process easy, the NY DMV has resources, requirements, fees, questions and documents available for download.


Boat owners, new and veteran alike, must consider how they will be storing their boat. Luckily, there are several options available to fit all budgets and abilities. Trailering, rack storage, and marinas are all options available to boat owners. 

Rack storage: available to smaller boats. Your boat is stored on a dry rack in a facility for you - when you are ready to use it, the facility removes it from the rack for you. You simply rent the rack/space.

Trailering: The most budget-friendly boat storage option. The boat is trailered and stored on your own property. Trailering requires specific hardware and equipment based upon both your vehicle and boat type. 

For convenient access to the Lake, you can find boat ramps on our WNY Boating Destinations Map.

Marinas: Available to owners of large and small boats alike, renting a marina slip affords boaters convenient access to the water, and often electrical hookups and access to gas. Many marinas also offer winter storage. Visit our WNY Boating Destinations Map for a comprehensive list of available marinas, and find out which location is right for you.

Western New York Waters