Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation to improve safety for boaters in New York's waterways by requiring safety classes for all boat operators.
"New York State has some of the best recreational and thriving commercial waterways in the country, and it is our responsibility to ensure they remain safe for all boat operators and passengers," Governor Cuomo said. "This legislation will make sure that those who operate any kind of boat have the necessary training and experience, and they are aware of the risks and proper protocol for handling their vessels. I thank Senator Carlucci and Assemblywoman Galef for putting together this important new law to protect all those traveling on our waterways."
The new law (A.3471-A/S.1639-A) requires all boat operators to obtain a boating safety certificate by completing an eight hour safe boating course. The requirement will be put into effect over a period of years, beginning next year with all 18-year-old boaters. 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.
Previous law only required the operator of a personal watercraft to obtain a boating safety certificate or be accompanied on the vessel by a person over 18 years of age who is the holder of a safety certificate. The new law extends the requirement to all motorized water vessels.
Senator David Carlucci said, "This new law will enable New York State to finally protect its waterways and save countless lives. 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."
Assembly Member Sandy Galef said, "My heart goes out to the families of those injured and killed in recent tragedies on the Hudson River, the Long Island Sound and elsewhere. They continue to experience profound anguish, which no one should have to suffer. Thankfully, with the signing of this bill into law, we will start to see the end of boating operators with no training endangering themselves, those on the boat with them, and other boaters. I have no doubt that this new law will ensure that boat operators receive an appropriate education, helping to prevent and decrease the number of boating accidents on New York's beautiful waterways. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for signing this landmark legislation."
Senator Charles J.Fuschillo, Jr., Chairman of the Senate's Transportation Committee, said: "Individuals should learn basic safety procedures, navigation, and the rules of the water before operating a powerful motor vehicle which can kill or seriously injure someone. Enacting this law is a step in the right direction which will make our waterways safer for everyone. I applaud Governor Cuomo for signing this legislation."