With multiple deaths and injuries occurring in Long Island waters, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran joined District Attorney Madeline Singas, New York State Senator John Brooks, New York State Assemblywoman Judy Griffin, Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen, Nassau County Police Department Commissioner Patrick Ryder and the Nassau County Police Marine Bureau on Monday, July 22 at Wantagh Park Marina to emphasize the importance of boating safety.
Boating crash survivor Gina Costa Lieneck, who lost her 11-year-old daughter in a boating accident in 2005, was also on site to speak about the importance of boater education and her legislation, Brianna’s Law – a law requiring all boaters in New York to take an eight-hour boating safety class.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the top-five contributing factors in accidents are operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, machinery failure, and alcohol use. Nassau County officials stressed the importance of boating with caution.
New York State Senator John Brooks added, “The safety of our waterways in New York is every bit as important as the safety of our roadways. Brianna Lieneck and her family paid the ultimate price from inadequate regulation. Knowing the laws of the waterways is crucial and it is simply a matter of common sense that informed vessel-operators will result in safer waters. I am confident that it will save lives.”
To educate residents on boating safety, Curran also shared the following tips:
- Take a boating safety course before operating a vessel.
- Have a routine safety checkup and do regular maintenance on your boat.
- Know the weather and ensure it is safe to go out. If you notice storm clouds, a sudden temperature drop or wind speed increasing, play it safe and get off the water.
- Don’t ever operate a vessel while impaired by alcohol or drugs – it’s illegal and dangerous. Boating while intoxicated is a crime and a major contributor to boating accidents are fatalities.
- Maintain a safe speed – a vessel must be able to stop safely within the clear space ahead.
- Do not overload your boat. Keep to the recommended weight and number of people you can safely carry.
- When operating a boat or watercraft, pay attention. Put your phone away and avoid distractions.