Assemblyman Kevin Byrne (R,C,I,SAM,ROS-Mahopac) was joined at MacDonald Marine in Mahopac, NY on Tuesday morning by representatives from the Town of Carmel, the Carmel Police Department, the Mahopac Falls Volunteer Fire Department’s Dive Team, the Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department, the Putnam County Legislature, MacDonald Marine and Mahopac Marina to promote awareness for boater & water safety, including the need for New York State’s Boating Safety Certificate. Established by Brianna’s Law, which was enacted in 2019, New York State is requiring all motorized and personal watercraft operators to carry a New York Boating Safety Certificate by January 2025. This requirement is being gradually phased in, and this year it applies to people born on or after January 1st, 1988. Brianna’s Law is named after Brianna Lieneck, an 11-year old Long Island girl who was killed in a 2005 boating accident.
“As we begin the summer and start our water activities, we want to make sure that all folks who operate watercraft are aware of Brianna’s Law, which requires many people to obtain a boating safety certificate for this year, and all people by the start of 2025,” said Byrne. “We are very fortunate that we have a lot of great places to recreate throughout our summer months here in Putnam County. Brianna’s Law will ensure that people are aware of the proper safety precautions as they decide to go out with their families and friends to enjoy some time on our lakes this summer. Please make sure that if you were born on or after January 1st, 1988 that you have the proper NYS Boating Safety Certificate. Also be aware that you can pay a few more bucks to have the boater safety certificate marked on your driver’s license so that you don’t have to carry around an extra piece of paper in your wallet.”
“We are glad Assemblyman Byrne is bringing this law to the attention of our community,” said Carmel Supervisor Michael Cazzari. “As a former marine officer with the Town of Carmel Police Department, I can attest to the importance of safety on the lake. We haven’t had a serious accident on the lake in quite some time, but classes like this are important to keeping it that way. Thank you Kevin for having us here to promote awareness about boating safety.”
“Safety is very important because we want to protect ourselves as well as the people around us,” said Putnam County Legislator William Gouldman who represents Putnam Valley including Lake Oscawana. “We thank Assemblyman Byrne for having us here today to promote good boating practices to help keep the people on our lakes safe in Putnam County.”
“Today is an opportunity to take something that was very tragic and to learn from it,” said Charles Melchner, Mahopac Marina. “We are in safe boating month right now, and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to stop by the marina. Thank you to everyone here for their help in keeping Lake Mahopac and the rest of the lakes in Putnam County safe.”
“Thank you to Assemblyman Byrne for having us out here today,” said Asst. Chief Christopher Tompkins, Mahopac Falls Fire Department’s Dive Team. “Practicing good safety is always number one out here. If we can prevent our response as the dive team, that would be fantastic. Make sure you have all the appropriate safety equipment when you are boating and remember to enjoy your summer.”
“I echo the sentiment of everyone who spoke before me of how paramount safety is on Lake Mahopac and the other bodies of water throughout Putnam County,” said Chief Anthony Hoffman, Carmel Police Department. “In addition to emphasizing boater safety, we would like to add that we will be participating this upcoming holiday weekend in Operation Dry Water. It is a nationwide campaign to bring awareness to and increase enforcement of boating while impaired. While you are on the lake, make sure you are staying safe, refrain from consuming alcohol while operating a boat, and above all have a great holiday weekend.”
“Thank you to MacDonald Marine and Mahopac Marina for allowing us to use their property to train and prepare for water emergencies,” said Chief Andrew Roberto of Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department. “We are very fortunate that water incidents in our area are few and far between. However, there is an extremely high potential for a catastrophic incident to occur at any time. It is imperative that all minors are closely supervised when swimming or boating. Many of the serious or fatal water emergencies that do occur involve persons under the age of 18. Remember that for any incidents involving fires, do not over-extend yourself to try to put out said fire – especially if there is no life hazard involved.”
Some helpful boating tips from the United States Coast Guard include: making sure you have a fire extinguisher on the boat, check your engine cutoff switches, have the proper education, perform vessel safety checks, have the appropriate amount of life jackets on board, have a float plan, and avoid boating under the influence.
Other tips from the American Red Cross for water safety include: make sure you are swimming in designated areas that are supervised by a lifeguard, swim with a buddy, and have the proper PFDs or life jackets.
Please visit the New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation website at www.parks.ny.gov/recreation/boating/education.aspx to begin online boating safety class instruction, view in-classroom boating safety course availability, apply for a replacement certificate, view frequently asked questions and see other helpful information regarding safer boating. You can also contact Assemblyman Kevin Byrne’s office at (845) 278-2923 for more information on this or any other matter.