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Boating Checklist - Be Ready for Boating Season!

The unofficial start of summer has begun!  Before you head out on the water, spend some time now preparing your paperwork and equipment.  Make sure you have the appropriate equipment and it is in working order, so you will be ready for boating season!

The NJSP has provided this checklist: that will help remind boaters what needs to be prepared.

You can also refer to the NJSP Boating Safety Manual for clarification on the NJ rules and regulations:


Valid Registration – Make sure your boat is registered.  Not registered yet?   Start with the MVC Application for Boat Registration:

Registration number properly displayed: Be sure to leave a space between the NJ prefix, the four numbers and the two-letter suffix. The registration decal, showing the expiration date of your registration, always goes aft (behind the letters and numbers) on each side of the boat

Validation decals properly displayed: The validation stickers shall be displayed on each side of the vessel, three inches behind the State registration number assigned to the vessel

Required Lights: Recreational:  Boats operating at night are required to display navigation lights between sunset and sunrise.   Make sure you have the correct lights for your size boat and they are in working order.

Flame arrester properly installed *(where required): Gasoline engines installed in a motorboat or motor vessel after April 25, 1940, except outboard motors, must have a U.S. Coast Guard approved flame arrester fitted to the carburetor

Personal flotation devices (wearable): All vessels must have at least one USCG–approved wearable Type I, II, or III, or V PFD for each person on board or being towed.  Now is the time to check them for tears and wear.  Make sure your PFDs are in good shape, replace any that are not.

Personal flotation device (throwable): All vessels 16 feet or longer, except canoes and kayaks, also must carry one USCG–approved throwable Type IV device.  Again, make sure your throwable is in good shape.

Horn or Whistle: Make sure you have it and it’s in working order

Bell *(where required): Make sure you have it and it’s in working order

Adequate bilge ventilation: There must be at least one exhaust duct installed so as to extend from the open atmosphere to the lower portion of the bilge and at least one intake duct installed so as to extend to a point at least midway to the bilge or at least below the level of the carburetor air intake.

Approved unexpired visual distress signals:  Check the expiration date on flares! Replace as needed.

Approved fire extinguishers: Check expiration dates and make sure it is approved for marine use.

Operator’s License *(non-tidal water only): Also known as a “non-tidal boat license”.  This is your NJ driver’s license with the “BOAT” endorsement.  If you are planning on boating on non-tidal waters, get your boat safety certificate, and get to a NJ Motor Vehicles Agency to update your driver’s license with this endorsement.

Float Plan: Figure out who you leave this information with and where it will be left.  Here is a good example of what information to leave: Coast Guard will not accept float plans. Do not attempt to file the form with the Coast Guard.)

Boating Safety Certificate: In NJ, you are required to have a NJSP issued boat safety certificate to operate any powered vessel.  You must take the approved course and pass the proctored exam.  For a schedule of classes and exams, see   Register and attend your class and exam now so you will have your paperwork in can also take the class online (with, or and join us for the required proctored exam.

Happy Boating!




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