A Plea for Boater Caution
Boating in NYC can be a fantastic way to "get away" just minutes from our crowded shores. However, you need to know what you are doing. In NYS, you don't need a license to engage in recreational boating which means you can't be sure that a recreational boater knows what he or she is doing. We recommend taking boating classes. If nothing else, we encourage you to remember some safety concepts and share them with your friends:
- Know the rules of the road. Sailboats do NOT always have right of way; Coast Guard Navigation Rule 9 explains this.
- If in doubt as to who has right of way, play it safe and get out of the way of large commercial vessels. They generally have right of way since they can't move out of narrow channels; and if you collide with them, you will lose.
- Barges can be out of sight behind tugs while being towed on long cables. Do not cut close behind a tug, especially not at night, if you don't know how to read the towing lights that indicate if, and how, the tug is towing another vessel.
- While fishing, do not anchor in the channel; do not tie up to navigational aids.
- Carry a VHF marine radio and wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD).
Safe Boating Info
- The Safe Harbor a website solely about safe boating in NY harbor
- PDF about Safe Boating near commercial traffic supplied by the Tug+Barge industry, print it and carry it aboard.
- I Boat NY Harbor created by Ed Bacon, an NYC sailboat charter captain, has info on safe Boat Handling, Tides + Currents, planning your route, + more.
- NYS Boating Regulations (note the "zero tolerance" for alcohol)
- Coast Guard "Proceedings" Magazine, Recreational Boating Issue, Fall 2010
- Boating Safety Resource Center, Coast Guard
- VHF marine radio tips from the Coast Guard
- NOAA Chart of New York harbor #12327