Legislators Join Activists to Launch Boating Safety Education Petition Effort

David Carlucci

August 31, 2012

Carlucci, Galef and Boating Safety Activists Circulate On-Line/Print Petitions to Urge Boating Safety in New York

(August 30, 2012) Grieving relatives of those who have drowned this past summer are channeling their grief and anger into political action.   They are circulating a print petition (see attached) calling on Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature to pass and enact the Galef/Carlucci legislation (A3550/S6633). 

This legislation would require boat operators of mechanically-propelled vessels to possess a New York State issued boating safety certificate.  There is also an on-line petition that is being circulated by e-mail through the region http://www.change.org/petitions/governor-andrew-m-cuomo-the-new-york-state-legislature-pass-and-enact-boating-safety-legislation-a3550-s6633-of-2012.

“Year after year, countless number of individuals have had their lives end tragically as a direct result of the inexperience, carelessness, and ineptness of individuals operating boats on waters in New York. It is our responsibility to take action to put an end to this treachery which has snuffed out the lives of so many of our loved ones. I implore you to take this first step towards safeguarding the lives of our children and grandchildren who go to the open waters for recreation, fun or just to commute.”, said Thomasina Laidley-Brown, grandmother of Bryan Johnson, a twenty-six year old who drowned off City Island at the end of June of 2012. 

“In the interest of safety, it is imperative that all boat operators be exposed to basic safety training in the principles of boating. This should also include first aid, CPR and emergency exercises, so that in an emergency proper action can be taken before first responders arrive. Save a life! Make a difference! Pass the boating safety law!” said Sheila Lilley, Bryan Johnson’s mother.

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and Senator David Carlucci introduced legislation (A.3550/S.6633) requiring all mechanically propelled vessel operators, through a multi-year phase-in beginning in 2013, to obtain a safety certificate by completing an eight hour safety course.  This initiative would help eliminate the dangers of boating often attributed to inexperience, by requiring young boat operators to take a course and become aware of all safety and legal aspects of operating boats.

“Protecting our residents and visitors to our waterways with these common sense safety measures will go a long way to preventing boating accidents in New York,” said Assemblywoman Sandy Galef. “Lack of boating education is the primary reason for these incidents and I look forward to the positive outcome this legislation will have.”

“We need to make our waterways safe and the petitions are an excellent way to go about it.  I applaud these citizens for taking action and engaging the public in this critically important issue.  It is incumbent on us to spread the word and educate everyone that boating accidents can be prevented,” said Senator Carlucci.

Currently, the New York State approved boating safety course is required for all personal water craft (jet skis) operators.  Approved boat safety courses are provided free of charge and for charge through a variety of venues including New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadron, various municipalities, and local boat clubs. 

“The rate of accidents for personal water craft operators continues to fall, even as more people are enjoying PWCs than ever before. There is no doubt that requiring operators to possess a boating safety course certificate makes the difference,” said Robert Daraio, Village of Ossining Trustee and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary member. “As a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadron, and New York State certified boating safety instructor, I say with certainty that this legislation will save lives.”