online resources
online databases
link to a topic
ocean county resources
search the web
search the web
Home | Online Resources: Link to a Topic | Boating Safety


Are you considering buying a boat, or wondering who can legally operate a jet ski? Preparation is the key to enjoying a safe outing on the water. Protect yourself, your loved ones, and the environment by knowing and following the rules.

Boating Law

The laws that govern boating are made on the Federal, State and local level. To paraphrase an old saying, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” Make sure you know the law. You can save yourself time and fines, and ensure your safety on and off the water.

New Jersey Law

New Jersey Statutes are the laws passed by the New Jersey State Legislature, and are available on the Internet from their Web site. Generally, you will find boating laws in Title 12, Commerce and Navigation.

You can search the statutes on the Internet by citation or by keyword.
BY CITATION - “12: 7-47.1”
BY KEYWORDS OR PHRASES- “personal flotation device” “boating while intoxicated.”

New Jersey Statutes Annotated (N.J.S.A.) are available in print at many of our branches. You may contact your local Ocean County Library branch  to find out whether N.J.S.A. is available at your branch. The complete paper set is available at the Toms River Branch.

The New Jersey Administrative Code (N.J.A.C.) contains regulations adopted by New Jersey state agencies. It is available ONLY on CD-ROM in the Information Services Department at our Toms River Branch. It is not available on the Internet, or in print in the Ocean County Library system. The N.J.A.C. can be searched by citation number or by keyword. Look for boating regulations in Title 13.

Visit our Legal Resources page to see the Legal Collection available at Ocean County Library branches.

Local Laws - Municipal Ordinances

Every town varies and the so will the Municipal ordinances. They are not normally available on the Internet, or in Ocean County Library branches. We recommend that you contact your local municipal clerk’s office for ordinances that affect boating activities. Your town may have wake or noise restrictions, or there may be special areas set aside for wildlife.

Federal Law

The United States Code
 (U.S.C.) contains the laws passed by the United States Congress, and is available on the Internet from the House of Representatives.

The Code of Federal Regulations 
(C.F.R.) contains regulations adopted by federal agencies, and is available Internet from the National Archives and Records Administration.
The C.F.R. is no longer available in print at the Toms River branch of the Ocean County Library.

Boating Safety and Education Organizations

United States Coast Guard Auxiliary
These civilian volunteers support the goals of the U.S. Coast Guard and provide boating safety classes for the public. Members participate in safety patrols, conduct free vessel safety checks, and help boaters in distress. On their web site you will find: news on special educational programs, information on free vessel safety checks, and links to local flotillas. You can even e-mail a question to the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

New Jersey State Police, Marine Services Unit
This support unit for marine activities answers questions on marine law, gathers statistical data on marine accidents, and develops training and boating safety courses for grammar school students. Their web site includes a helpful FAQ section and a list of statewide marine stations. Contact the Marine Services Unit directly at: (609)-882-2000, x6170, 6173, 6181. Weekdays, 8 AM.-5 PM.

National Safe Boating Council
The NSBC promotes recreational boating safety as a coalition of U.S. and Canadian agencies. Their newsletter alerts the public to recalls of equipment, special giveaways, and provides information on what to do in case of various boating emergencies. Also highlighted are training opportunities and links to major boating organizations, Internet reference sources, and weather sites.

  Barnegat Bay Sail and Power Squadron
A member of the United States Power Squadrons, Barnegat Bay Sail and Power Squadron serves the area from Manasquan to Forked River, New Jersey. They offer boating safety classes for the public, assist the Coast Guard Auxiliary with vessel safety checks, and provide squadron members with educational and recreational opportunities.
New members are always welcome.  For more information, follow this link.

Navigation Publications

Need a current boating chart? You can get one from your local marina or boat store.

The Light List, published by the U.S. Coast Guard, helps boaters find aids to navigation, and includes descriptions of all U.S. lighthouses. It is several volumes and is broken down by region.

(For example, Volume I describes navigation aids in the waters from the St. Croix River in Maine to Ocean City Inlet in Maryland). The Light List is available for purchase on the Internet from the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office. The mailing address is: Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C., 20402.

Books and Magazines

The Ocean County Library has many books and magazines on boating. Visit your local Ocean County Library branch or search our Internet catalog to find what we have available.

Internet Magazines

There are some Internet boating magazines available for free. The following Internet magazines, like their paper versions, contain feature articles on boat handling, equipment, maintenance, adventure travel, and calendars of special events.

Motor Boating
Canoe & Kayak
Yachting Magazine

Important Telephone Numbers

To report an oil spill or other pollution on our waterways, call the Coast Guard at 1-800-424-8802.

To inquire about safety defects and recalls on boating equipment, call the Coast Guard Customer Infoline at 1-800-368-5647. Their hours of service are: 8:00 AM-4:00 PM, Monday through Friday (EST). The Customer Infoline for the hearing impaired is 1-800-689-0816.

Are you looking for a pump-out station in New Jersey?

Call 1-800-275-3474 (FISH).


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I just bought a Jet Ski. Do I have to wear a life jacket?

A. Yes! “A person operating a personal watercraft or any passenger on a personal watercraft shall at all times when the personal watercraft is underway, wear a United States Coast Guard Approved Type I, II, III, or Type V Hybrid Personal Flotation Device.” NJSA 12:7-65.

Q. How many life jackets must I keep on my boat?

A. “A person shall not operate or allow another person to operate a vessel on the waters of this state unless the vessel has a serviceable United States Coast Guard approved personal flotation device for each person on board. Such devices shall be of a type and in sufficient number as required by the United States Coast Guard for a vessel of that class operating on navigable waters.” NJSA 12: 7-77.

Q. How do I get a boat license?

A. Go to a New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles Agency. Those born in 1979 or later MUST bring their NJ Boat Safety Certificate with them when they apply for this license.

Q. Where do I go for a NJ Boat Safety Certificate?

A. To obtain a boat safety certificate, you must attend a state-approved boat safety course. Such courses are given by the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. Boat safety classes completed on the Internet are NOT acceptable. Check your local adult community school for available boating safety courses. Find a course near you by calling 1-800-336-2628.


Got questions? We have answers!
Ask a Librarian

Researched and Compiled by S. Harrison
Edited by C. Paulson

Copyright © 1996-2017 Disclaimer. All rights reserved.
Ocean County Library, 101 Washington Street, Toms River, NJ 08753 | Tel. 732-349-6200