New York State Harbormaster & Bay Constable Association
Frequently Asked Questions
IMPORTANT! Before sending an email to the webmaster with a question or asking for information, Please
read through the Frequently Asked Questions first. Most likely, you will find the answer here.
Q: Is New York State Harbormaster & Bay Constable Association a marine law enforcement agency?
A: No. NYSHBCA is not a law enforcement agency, but an association made up of members from many individual
marine law enforcement agencies of lower New York State from Westchester, Nassau, and
Q: What is New York State Harbormaster & Bay Constable Association?
A: The purpose for which this Association has been formed is to encourage a cooperative feeling among members of
this and similar organizations for the promotion of Boating Safety and Marine Environmental Protection. Also, to
promote and develop a friendly and fraternal spirit among its members, to educate its members through an exchange
of ideas and to develop a higher degree of professionalism.
Q: When was NYSHBCA started and why?
A: Since our inception February 1976, the New York State Harbormasters & Bay Constable Association (A Not For
Profit Organization) has been made up of marine law enforcement officers interested in promoting boater safety and
marine environmental protection. Subsequently, the NYSHBCA has grown to include hundreds of members statewide
and incorporating various law enforcement and marine patrol agencies. Our association is comprised of dedicated
professionals patrolling our ocean, beaches, bays, and Long Island Sound. They are also insuring daily Homeland
Security patrols, marine law enforcement, safety patrols, and environmental conservation.
Q: How do I become a bay constable or harbormaster?
A: You would have to start by contacting the agency or department that you’re interested in and see if they have
openings. Please be sure to read the job description and qualifications page for "Bay Constable" and “Harbormaster”
on our website and refer to the agency contact list in "Contact Us" page. Also, follow the links to the state, county and
town civil service websites for more information as a civil service exam is required for full time positions. Dates for the
exams are also posted on the civil service sites. Upon obtaining a passing grade, you will be put on an eligibility list
according to grade. Agencies with positions open will send out canvassing letters to candidates from the list. Our
website hosts a great deal of information and links that should help you in your research. www.nyshbca.org
Q: How do I train to become a Bay Constable or Harbormaster?
A: After successful canvassing and hiring by an agency or department, you will undergo training at a Peace Officer
Academy. The only way to get this training is for the agency that hired you is to sponsor you. Keep in mind that you
would need prior experience in certain fields and qualifications according to the job titles of bay constable and
Q: Can NYSHBCA help me with what information is needed on civil service applications ?
A: Your best bet is to contact the state or county civil service department that you will send your application to. Any
questions regarding applications or job descriptions should be directed to the civil service agency as changes to rules
and policies sometimes do occur. NYSHBCA gets information from the civil service websites and posts it here as a
courtesy. Download A Guide to the Written Test for the Local Bay Constable Series.
Q: What is the minimum age to become a bay constable or harbormaster?
A: The minimum age is 21 at time of appointment.
Q: Does New York State Harbormaster & Bay Constable Association hire bay constables and
A: Please note that New York State Harbormaster & Bay Constable Association is not an agency that hires for the
positions of bay constable and harbormaster. Please seek out the agency within the townships and/or counties that
you are interested in. Please refer to the Agency Contact List on our website. Also, New York State Harbormaster &
Bay Constable Association can not and will not endorse any individual for a position of either bay constable or
Q: I got a navigation summons and/or ticket for a violation from a marine law enforcement officer. Will
New York State Harbormaster & Bay Constable Association take care of it?
A: No. Tickets and summons's should be handled through the courts named and written on the summons by the
marine law enforcement agency that issued it. Follow the instructions on the backside of the summons. Certain tickets
require you to appear in court for other types violations.
Q: How do I become a member of New York State Harbormaster & Bay Constable Association?
A: To become a member, you must be currently employed as a marine law enforcement officer and hold the title of bay
constable or harbormaster. You must obtain an application and sponsorship from another member.
Q: How do I access the member’s only pages on the website?
A: The member’s only pages is for members of New York State Harbormaster & Bay Constable Association only. To
request access, fill out and provide all information on the member registration form. You need to be a member in good
standing. Upon verification of membership status, you will be emailed your username and password.
Q: I am an officer from another state in the US or from another country who is an avid collector of
department patches. Can I get a patch from NYSHBCA?
A: At this time, NYSHBCA does not have patches for collectors to be given out.
Q: One of my relatives or ancestors was a bay constable or harbormaster in the New York area from way
back when. Do you have any records or information on this person?
A: Since NYSHBCA was formed in 1976, we have no records or information on persons who were Harbormasters or
Bay Constables in New York State dating back to as early as the 1600's. We will however, put a request out to our
members in case there is a chance one of them may have some info on that person. You're best bet is to google the
name of the person and do a search on the Internet especially if you're inquiring from the United Kingdom/Great
Q: Does my boat require a registration?
A: The law requires you to register any boat that is motor-driven and is operated on public waterways in NYS. The boat
requires a registration even if the motor is not the primary source of propulsion. If you operate the boat in NYS, you
must register the boat with the DMV. After you register your boat, you receive a registration certificate that indicates
the registration number assigned to your boat and a set of registration stickers.
You must paint or attach the registration number to each side of the bow of the boat. The characters must be:
- block letters not less than three inches high,
- a color different from the hull and easy to see,
- legible from 100 ft. away during the daylight hours,
- the only number on the front half of your boat.
You cannot transfer the registration number to another boat.
The registration sticker shows the month and the year that the registration expires. Attach each sticker in line with the
registration numbers on each side of the hull, and three inches toward the stern of the boat.
Q: What if my boat is documented by the US Coast Guard?
You must register the boat in NYS if:
If your boat was documented by US Coast Guard, you do not receive a NYS registration number. You receive NYS
registration stickers only. Attach the stickers in the position where the registration numbers are normally located.
Q: How do I get a hull identification number (HIN)?
If you have a boat that does not have a hull identification number (HIN), you must get one before you can register the
- you made the boat
- you got a boat that was manufactured after November 1, 1972.
You can get an application form from the DMV or from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
(OPRHP). Send the completed form to the OPRHP. The OPRHP arranges your boat inspection for you. To get form,
Visit the OPRHP web site.
Q: Do boats require title certificates?
The DMV issues title certificates for boats that are:
- model year 1987 and newer,
- at least 14 ft. long, and
- registered in New York State.
The title certificate is used for proof of ownership for these boats instead of the registration. Title certificates are not
issued for boats that do not match the description above or for boats registered with the Coast Guard. For a boat that
does not receive a title certificate, the transferable registration is proof of ownership.
Q: How do I register my boat?
See the information about boat registration requirements. You need Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you do not have
Adobe Acrobat Reader®, see these instructions.
To register your boat, bring the following items to a DMV office:
Remember that if you have a boat trailer you must register the trailer. See the instructions to register a vehicle.
Q: What is the cost of a boat registration?
Boat registrations are issued for three years. There is a registration fee and a surcharge for boating safety. The fees
and surcharges are calculated from the length of the boat as follows:
For registration processed before September 1, 2009 and renewals with expiration dates before September 1, 2009:
* Less than 16 feet - $18.00 registration fee and $3.00 surcharge ($21.00 total).
* 16 feet to less than 26 feet - $36.00 registration fee and $10.00 surcharge ($46.00 total).
* 26 feet or longer - $60.00 registration fee and $15.00 surcharge ($75.00 total).
For registration processed on and after September 1, 2009 and renewals with expiration dates on and after
September 1, 2009:
* Less than 16 feet - $22.50 registration fee and $3.75 surcharge ($26.25 total).
* 16 feet to less than 26 feet - $45.00 registration fee and $12.50 surcharge ($57.50 total).
* 26 feet or longer - $75.00 registration fee and $18.75 surcharge ($93.75 total).
Q: How do I renew my boat registration?
A: You can renew your boat registration on-line, or you can renew by mail. To renew by mail, use the MV-3B renewal
notice mailed to you by the DMV, or use form MV-82B (Boat Registration/Title Application). You can also renew at a
local DMV office.
Q: Is it against the law to operate a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
A: Yes. New York State has laws that prohibit the operation of a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
More information is available from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. On April 1, 1999, the
Zero Tolerance Law for vessel operators became effective.
Q: How can I find more information about boating laws and boating safety?
The New York State Boater's Guide is available from the DMV, the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic
Preservation, or the NYS Canal Corporation. This handbook contains information about registration, operation and
safety. Go to the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation web site to get information about the
operation of a vessel or recreational vehicle in NYS.
*Boat Registration Information Courtesy of New York State Department of Motor Vehicles