New Jersey is a great place for recreational boating. From Lake Hopatcong to the Atlantic, our state is covered in lakes, rivers and tributaries. Boaters can explore over 120 miles of coastline plus a tremendous number of inlets and beaches along the state’s bays. Boating can be a fun and rewarding experience, and it is a vital part of the life on the Jersey shore, but boaters must always be careful to pay attention to safety.
Safety is essential because boating combines the dangers of vehicles with the hazards of water. New Jersey requires nearly all boaters to take a boating safety course. In order to operate any powered vessel, including a personal watercraft like a water scooter, you must first obtain a New Jersey boating safety certificate. Many organizations offer classes and tests to help you obtain this certificate.
In addition to having the appropriate certificate, there are important safety tips and regulations to keep in mind. New Jersey requires each boat to carry a United States Coast Guard approved wearable personal flotation device for each person on board. Children 12 years old or younger must wear their devices while the vessel is underway, unless they are in a permanently enclosed cabin. Larger vessels need to carry additional devices in case of boating accidents.
It is essential to never mix boating and alcohol. Boat operators must always be able to pay full attention to conditions around them, as dangers can arise quickly and possible-collision scenarios can come about with little warning. Alcohol slows reaction times and impairs decision making, and its effects can be amplified by extended exposure to the sun.
New Jersey has deemed it unlawful to operate a vessel while intoxicated or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. This law operates similarly to the state’s drunk driving laws. Violators will lose the right to operate a vessel on New Jersey waters for one year. Boaters with a BAC of 0.10% or higher or boaters under the influence of certain drugs will also lose their driver’s license for seven months to one year. This law also applies to anyone who lets an intoxicated person operate their vessel.
At Seigel Law in Ridgewood, we stress safety and education to all of our clients who participate in recreational boating. Our attorneys represent victims of recreational boating accidents throughout the state. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 201.444.4000.