ALBANY, NY - Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and State Senator David Carlucci announced today that legislation they sponsored requiring boaters to take an eight-hour boating safety course before being allowed to navigate on New York waters has been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo. This new law, A3471/S1639, will require all operators of a mechanically propelled boat to hold a boating safety certificate, which would be granted following successful completion of the boating safety course.
Inexperienced and reckless boaters have caused many tragedies in the tri-state area in the past two years, increasing awareness that safe boating does require education. While many boaters may believe they understand how to operate a vessel safely, often they are at a loss when encountering kayakers, wakes, and large vessels. A boat operator making the slightest mistake can cause a tragedy, which has occurred all too often in the past couple of years.
"My heart goes out to the families of those injured and killed in recent tragedies, including those here today from my District, and others on the Hudson, and on the Long Island Sound. They continue to experience profound anguish, which no one should have to suffer," said Assemblywoman Galef. "Thankfully, with Governor Cuomo's 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."
"This new law will enable New York state to finally protect its waterways and save countless lives," said Senator Carlucci. "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."
This new law implements a multi-year phase-in of boating safety certificate requirements for all boat operators. It requires eighteen-year old boat operators to possess a boating safety certificate and expands with succeeding age groups in each successive year.
The legislation provides the Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation with the explicit authority to develop and implement Internet-based (on-line) boating safety education courses if appropriate.
This law will take effect May 1, 2014.