Galef Legislation to Reduce Boater Insurance and Make Way for Safer Waters Passes Assembly

March 7, 2006

Legislation (A.5207), sponsored by Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, passed the Assembly on February 28, 2006. This legislation seeks to amend the insurance law, making it mandatory for boaters to receive a reduction on premiums after completing a boating safety course.

Sponsored in the Senate by State Senator Vincent Leibell (S.4465), it was created in reaction to the high traffic volume in New York’s waterways that has, in turn, led to an increase in boating accidents. The course that would offer a mandatory discount from insurance providers would be approved by the New York State Commissioner of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.

“Not only would this legislation help to reduce the number of boating accidents, it would also encourage New York boat owners to take safety courses through the incentive of qualifying for a reduced insurance rate,” said Galef. The Assemblywoman has confidence that the bill will result in safer waterways for the state.

New Jersey and Connecticut currently have similar legislation in place that requires a boat operator to possess a certificate of completion of a safety course at all times. The bill sponsored by Galef does not require all boaters to take this course, but rather rewards them with an insurance reduction. This reduction can best be compared to the type drivers receive from insurance providers upon completion of a defensive driving course.

Safer waterways are a tremendous concern for Galef, whose district in Westchester and Putnam Counties abut the Hudson River. “Assuring that boat owners are better educated is an important first step in reaching all boat operators,” said Galef. “Discounting insurance premiums is an effective way of implementing safer waterways sooner.” If passed into law, bill A.5207 would be a way to assure educated boaters on the water, resulting in safer and more enjoyable waterways for New Yorkers.