Thank you for visiting my website and I am happy about clearing this question up for you.
The common misconception is that, in order to operate a powerboat in NJ, you need to have a NJ Boat License. What you really need is a NJ Boating Safety Certificate, which certifies that you successfully completed a NJ State Police approved Boating Safety Course. The law requires either an 8 hour in person course (or 2 three hour sessions with homework), or an approved online course with an “in person”, proctored exam.
If you are going to be operating in non tidal waters, mostly thought of as “fresh” water, in addition to the NJ Boat Safety Certificate, you will need to have a New Jersey Boat License, and you will need to cary both.
So, here’s what you do. Sign up for and take a NJ Boat Safety Course. Upon successful completion of this course, you will be issued a temporary NJ Boating Safety Certificate which is good for a year. Take a picture of it for when it eventually gets lost, lol. We, at Shore Boating School, will then submit your application to the NJSP. They will check for duplicates and send just the permanent cards in a batch. We will then put your permanent NJ Boating Safety Certificate card in the mail to you. This process takes about 2-6 months, depending on the time of year.
Next, if you will be boating in non tidal waters (or if you just want a very cool BOAT endorsement on your drivers license) bring your NJ Boat Safety Certificate (either the temporary application or the permanent card) to MJMVC and get a new license with BOAT in it. If you don’t have a license, they will issue you a NJ Boat operator license.
Bottom Line: You need to have and be able to display upon request from law enforcement, a valid NJ Boating Safety Certificate. This MUST be carried by the boat operator AT ALL TIMES. IN ADDITION TO THIS, while operating in non tidal waters, you will need a NJMVC issued NJ Boat License or a BOAT endorsement on you NJ drivers license.