NY lawmakers pass boat safety legislation


(NEWS10) — It’s a busy weekend for boaters in New York State, and legislation that passed the Assembly and Senate this session aims to make the waterways safer in the future.

Going out on the water on a hot summer weekend can be crowded.

“There are 450,000 powerboats just in New York State, so boating safety, especially as we’re getting ready to launch the busy July 4 weekend, boating safety does matter,” Assemblymember Patricia Fahy said. “And the more we can have people who are trained, and making sure they are licensed boaters, the safer all will be.”

Fahy is a co-sponsor of Brianna’s Law, which requires anyone operating a motor boat to take a safety course. Currently, only people born after May 1, 1996 must do so to operate a mechanically propelled vessel.

“We know it’s an inconvenience for people to register to go through a safety course,” Fahy said. “It may inconvenience hundreds of thousands, however, it may save dozens of lives.”

Supporters hope it will prevent tragedies, like the 2016 boat collision at Lake George that resulted in the death of 8-year-old Charlotte McCue.

If it can prevent future tragedies, I do think, again, that slight inconvenience of having to take a safety course is worth it,” Fahy said. “Just as we want safe roads, we want safe waterways.”

According to the New York State Assembly’s memo in support of the legislation, there were 22 boating deaths in 2016, and drugs or alcohol were involved in 11 of them.

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