It is time to uncover the boat, give it a tune-up from its long winter nap, and head for the water. Many people have already begun to enjoy the boating season on Long Island's harbors, bays and waterways. More than a million New Yorkers will take to the State’s waterways this spring and summer.
According to the US Coast Guard, each year hundreds of lives are lost, thousands are injured and millions of dollars in property damage occur on U.S. waterways because of preventable boating accidents, 70% is because of operator error. Legislation to help prevent these accidents have been enacted into law including, tougher boating-while-intoxicated laws, mandatory safety certificates for Jet Ski operators and improved lifejacket requirements.
Staring on May 1, 2014 a new law (S.1639-A) will require all boat operators born on or after May 1, 1996 to obtain a boating safety certificate by completing an eight hour safe boating course. This will allow the requirement to be eased in over a period of years. Currently in New York State a boating safety course is only mandatory for young people between 10 and 18 years of age or anyone operating a personal watercraft such as a Jet Ski. The new law extends the requirement to all motorized water vessels.
Certificates can be obtained and the safety course completed with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historical Preservation, U.S. Power Squadrons, or the U.S. Coast Guard.
The statistics show that no matter where you are boating, following boating safety, being properly prepared and equipped can help save many lives. By working together, we will educate the public; help reduce boating accidents and work to keep everyone safe.
Most importantly, enjoy the miles of shoreline that Long Island has to offer.