NYS Lawmakers Promote Boating Safety

by Katharine O'Marra
A A
City Island

Doug Kerr, flickr

New York Lawmakers urge Governor Cuomo to sign boating safety legislation.

With boating season in full swing, some New York lawmakers are pushing for stronger boating safety regulations.

New York Senators David Carlucci and Jeffrey D. Klein and Assemblywoman Sandy Galef are urging Governor Cuomo to sign a bill into law that will create new restrictions on boaters. The bill has already passed the state assembly and senate and now waits on the governor’s desk for his signature.

The bill requires that any person born on or after May 1, 1996 hold a boating safety certificate to operate a motorboat. Certificates will be obtained through the Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the U.S. Power Squadrons or the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary following completion of a certified boating safety course.

While this law would at first only require 18 year olds to obtain a boating safety certificate, Assemblywoman Galef explained that in future years the requirement will be extended to 19 and 20 year olds and so on.

She said, “There is one way to try to promote boat safety and that's by requiring people who are going out boating to have a boat safety course."

The measure would be an expansion of New York’s current restrictions. Today, only children between the ages of 10 and 18 are required to complete a boating safety course before operating a motorboat.

The boating safety bill came after an incident last June that claimed the life of 26 year old Ossining resident, Bryan Johnson. Johnson was boating with friends off of City Island and they stopped for a swim. His friends pulled the boat away and Johnson, left behind in the water, drowned.

The tragedy served as a wake-up call for New York lawmakers to promote greater boating education.

State Senator Carlucci said New York has a dangerous problem with boating safety, with 129 fatalities on the state’s waterways in the past 5 years.

 “We see that we have some of the highest rates of accidents and fatalities on our waterways in the United States,” he said, “and that's something we cannot tolerate any longer.”

If signed, the law will go into effect next May.

 

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