An outline for obtaining your NYS License to Guide

1) Print the application and other forms using the provided links below

  • a) Complete application and submit with payment to DEC

2) The following are required for obtaining a NYS guide license. It is not necessary to complete all of these requirements before taking the guide exam.

  • a) Adult CPR (or equivalent) and Standard First Aid (or equivalent)
    • This certification, a balance of classroom and skills practice, is accepted as a prerequisite to becoming a licensed outdoor guide. This certification is valid for 2 years.

      August 12, 2023

      Click here to register online and payment. Click here to print the registration form for mail-in registration and payment.

  • b) Basic Water Safety (or equivalent)
    • The Water Safety for Guides class generally runs 3-4 hours, fulfills the water safety requirement for the New York State guide license and is a LIFETIME CERTIFICATION. Participants are not required to enter the water for this course.

      2023 Schedule for Water Safety Certification Classes (Class size is limited):

      2023 Class Dates and Locations:
      April 15, June 24, September 9, October 21, November 11, December 9 in Tupper Lake with instructor Sonny Young
      August 12 in Alexandria Bay with instructor Craig Tryon
      Pop-up dates available in Woodgate with instructor Alan Woodruff
      Click here to register online and payment.

  • c) Physicians statement of physical fitness

3) Register with the DEC to take the exams in the guiding disciplines you are interested in providing guide services for.

4) Following your exam, DEC will notify you of the results. If successful you will be instructed to submitur CPR, First Aid, Water Safety certification cards, any other outstanding prerequisites, and your outstanding licensing fees.

5) Once processed you will receive your License to Guide from the DEC.

6) Once you get your NYS Guide License we welcome you to join NYSOGA and help fellow guides promote safe and ethical guiding in New York State.

7) Each March, NYSOGA hosts a 4-day Winter Rendezvous event. It is possible for aspiring guides to take the 3 certification classes required for the guide license and guide exam during this event. As a bonus NYSOGA offers a guide license prep and review class during the Rendezvous time. (Please note that updated information for the Rendezvous is generally posted to the NYSOGA website during the month of December prior to the Rendezvous.)

Above are individual links to files you can download and print as part of your preparation for obtaining your guides license. And here is a link to License Guide Program

NYS Sporting License Information from NYS DEC

Sporting licenses are citizens’ authorization to use the state’s resources, as well as DEC’s principal tool for managing the state’s fish and wildlife populations. The department issues licenses for fishing, hunting, trapping, commercial shellfish harvesting, and special licenses and permits for outdoor guides and wildlife rehabilitators.

Sporting Licenses (DECALS) may be purchased over the counter at license issuing outlets, such as sporting goods stores, town clerk offices, and some major discount stores.

Currently they are available at the following DEC regional offices:
Region 1 – Stony Brook, Region 5 – Ray Brook, Region 6 – Watertown, Region 9 – Alleghany, Region 9 – Buffalo and Central Office – Albany.

They may be purchased by phone: * 1-86-NY-DECALS (1-866-933-2257) with a major credit card. Applicants should have the following items ready: Complete name and address information; Proof of Residency information ( driver’ license number or non-drivers ID number to qualify for a resident license); MasterCard or Visa number and card expiration date.

By mail: VERIZONbusiness, PO Box 36985, Phoenix, AZ 85067-6985 You will have to download an application from the DEC web site to accomplish this. Please allow up to three weeks for the delivery when purchasing licenses or permits by phone, mail, or on-line.

More information is available through the DEC web site. Their contact info is located in the Sporting License box located on this page.

Information Regarding Motorized Marine Vessels For Hire

Note that anyone operating a motorized marine vessel for hire must obtain a Public Vessel license to comply with §50 of the NYS Navigation Law. These services are conducted by the NYS Parks – Marine Services Bureau. A Public vessel is defined in §2 of the NYS Navigation Law as: every vessel which is propelled in whole or in part by mechanical power and is used or operated for commercial purposes on the navigable waters of the state.

New York State Parks Boating Resources page includes the paperwork necessary for anyone operating a motorized vessel for hire to comply with §50 of the NYS Navigation Law. This page includes the Public Vessel Operator’s study guide, applications for a Public Vessel license and the application for certification of a Public Vessel. A Public Vessel inspection and license is required in all circumstances as defined above, there are no exemptions for holding a NYS DEC Guides License.