NJ boating officials urge boat owners to stay out of areas affected by Hurricane Sandy and, if possible, off the water entirely due to dangers associated with floating debris in the water, a lack of navigational signals like buoys and lights, changed current patterns and  shifting shoals or sandbars.

The New Jersey Boat Regulation Commission says that boat owners and caretakers should stay clear until State of Emergency declarations are lifted, public safety personnel deem the area safe and boatyard owners indicate that the premises can be safely accessed.

"Over the last few days our state, together with much of the Eastern seaboard, has experienced devastation the likes of which the people of New Jersey have never seen," the Commission said in a statement.

"Now, as the storm passes and we begin the arduous task of assessing, repairing and rebuilding, it is critical that we take steps to mitigate the dangers."

Boaters should be aware that there will be floating debris, shifting underwater structures and changed current patterns as a result of the storm, the Commission said. Also buoys, lights and other navigation signals may not be working properly.

Boat owners are also encouraged to report any conditions they encounter that could pose a danger to life or property.

"Finally, as you take the necessary steps to prevent or minimize any property damage to your vessel, be mindful that your boat and the equipment on board is replaceable - you and your passengers are not," the Commission said.