Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and State Senator David Carlucci announced that a new boating safety law takes effect in New York this week. The law was sponsored by Assemblywoman Galef and Senator Carlucci (Chapter 361 of 2013) and requires all operators of a mechanically propelled boat, born on or after 5/1/96, to hold a boating safety certificate, which would be granted following successful completion of an eight-hour boating safety course. New York State approved courses include those offered by New York State Parks, the U.S. Power Squadrons, or the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Inexperienced and reckless boaters have caused many tragedies in the tri-state area in the past few years, increasing the rationale that education leads to safer boating. While many boaters may believe they understand how to operate a vessel safely, often they are at a loss when encountering kayakers, wakes, and large vessels. A boat operator making the slightest mistake can cause a tragedy, which has occurred all too often in the past couple of years. With the new bridge being built on the Hudson River near the current Tappan Zee Bridge, it is even more important that residents of the Hudson Valley have an understanding of vessel safety as this construction continues.
This new law implements a multi-year phase-in of boating safety certificate requirements for all boat operators. It requires eighteen-year old boat operators to possess a boating safety certificate and expands with succeeding age groups in each successive year. The legislation also provides that the Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has the authority to develop and implement Internet-based (on-line) boating safety education courses if deemed warranted. More information on this new law and the available boating safety courses can be found on the New York State Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation’s website, http://www.nysparks.com/recreation/boating/education.aspx.
“I am thankful that now that this new law has taken effect, we will start to see the end of boating operators with no training endangering themselves, those on the boat with them, and other boaters,” said Assemblywoman Galef. “I have no doubt that this new law will ensure that boat operators receive an appropriate vessel safety education, helping to prevent and decrease the number of boating accidents on New York’s beautiful waterways.”
"This new law will enable New York State to finally protect its waterways and save countless lives,” said Senator Carlucci. “For the first time ever, we have a framework in place that will ensure that every New Yorker will be properly educated and only the most experienced boaters allowed to navigate our waters. I would like to thank Governor Cuomo for signing this bill into law and for his leadership on this important issue."
Photo Caption: Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and Senator David Carlucci presented Thomasina Laidley-Brown and Sheila Lilley of Ossining (son's boating accident death inspired law) with a copy of the Boating Safety Law signed by the governor.