Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. announced Friday that the State Assembly has passed legislation to increase boating safety in New York State by requiring all individuals born after 1995 (18 and younger) who operate a mechanically propelled boating vessel to complete a boating safety course.
The bill, which seeks to reduce the number of boating accidents and related deaths in New York State, phases in requirements for operators of mechanically propelled boating vessels to obtain state-issued safety certificates beginning with boaters who are currently 18 years of age. Anyone born prior to 1995 and people who are renting boats for a period of less than 60 days are exempt from the safety requirements.
A report from the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation found that, of the 26 boating fatalities which occurred in 2011, 85 percent of them were caused by individuals with no known boater safety training. Only four of the reported fatalities were individuals who had taken boating safety courses.
“Boating traffic on our East End bays and harbors increases significantly during summer months,” said Thiele. “With so many families out on the water, we must take every step to ensure their safety.”
The boating safety courses required by this legislation average eight hours of total classroom time and are provided free of charge in some circumstances. The courses consist of safety information deemed appropriate by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.