Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Babylon) announced that legislation she sponsored to enhance boating safety has passed the Assembly (A.911-A). This legislation would make it a felony for an individual to operate a vessel while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs when a child 15 years or younger is on board. Under current law, a first offense of operating a boat while intoxicated is classified as a misdemeanor.
“While anyone who operates a boat under the influence poses a danger to themselves and others, there is a distinct risk taken when someone who is under the influence knowingly does so with a child on board,” said Jean-Pierre. “An adult can take steps to avoid riding with a drunk or impaired operator, but a child is less likely to have any control over such situations, especially when the operator is their parent or guardian. My bill increases the penalty for these crimes, because driving drunk – whether in a car or a boat – is nothing to take lightly.”
Jean-Pierre’s bill will also include this new offense within crimes of vehicular assault in the first degree and vehicular manslaughter in the first degree. This bill will help keep boaters safe, while enjoying all that Long Island waters have to offer, noted Jean-Pierre.
Jean-Pierre has long championed boating safety measures. In 2019, she sponsored and helped pass Brianna’s Law – named after 11-year-old Brianna Lieneck, who tragically died in a 2005 boating accident off Long Island – which requires operators of mechanically propelled vessels to complete a boating safety course (Ch. 147 of 2019).