Galef Introduces Boating Safety Legislation

Boaters Required to Possess Boating Safety Certificates
August 28, 2008

Assemblywoman Galef addresses boating safety concerns.

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef introduced boating safety legislation (A.11284/S.8073) with Senator Morahan that requires all boat operators to possess a boating safety certificate. The New York State approved boating safety course is currently 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 Department of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadron, various municipalities, and local boat clubs.

“We have just had another tragedy where a young man from Mahopac died in a Hudson River boating accident and four of his friends were seriously injured. We must prevent such tragedies from occurring again and we can through my boating safety legislation. It is very tricky to navigate on the Hudson River and the fact that anyone can purchase a motor boat and operate it on public waterways with no boating or navigation knowledge is inexcusable,” said Assemblywoman Sandy Galef.

Several states including New Jersey, Connecticut, Alabama, District of Columbia, New Hampshire, Oregon, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin, already require that the operator of a boat possess a certificate showing that he or she has passed an approved boating safety course. The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the United States Coast Guard have issued recommendations that all states implement mandatory safety boating education.

Mel Goldstein, Squadron Education Officer for the United States Power Squadrons said: "Passage of legislation to provide for mandatory boating safety certificates for New York State boaters, is long overdue. I know that once passed, this education will be responsible for the saving of many boaters' lives. Today, many boaters do not know the 'Rules of the Road'; what to do in an emergency or what safety equipment is required on board by law. These boaters need the education to avoid getting into trouble."

New York State Assemblyman Michael Spano stated: "Operating a boat is more dangerous than operating a vehicle and therefore more stringent boating safety precautions are necessary to protect New Yorkers."

Westchester County Legislator Thomas Abinanti said: "New York should demand that its boaters operate their vehicles with the same sense of responsibility that we expect of automobile drivers. New York should follow Connecticut and New Jersey who require boat operators to complete an approved boating safety course before operating a power boat.”