Port Henry Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has signed legislation to improve safety for boaters in New York’s waterways by requiring safety classes for all boat operators.
“New York State has some of the best recreational and thriving commercial waterways in the country, and it is our responsibility to ensure they remain safe for all boat operators and passengers,” Cuomo said. “This legislation will make sure that those who operate any kind of boat have the necessary training and experience, and they are aware of the risks and proper protocol for handling their vessels. I thank Senator Carlucci and Assemblywoman Galef for putting together this important new law to protect all those traveling on our waterways.”
The new law (A.3471-A/S.1639-A) requires all boat operators to obtain a boating safety certificate by completing an eight hour safe boating course. The requirement will be put into effect over a period of years, beginning next year with all 18-year-old boaters. Certificates can be obtained and the safety course completed with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historical Preservation, U.S. Power Squadrons, or the U.S. Coast Guard.
Previous law only required the operator of a personal watercraft to obtain a boating safety certificate or be accompanied on the vessel by a person over 18 years of age who is the holder of a safety certificate. The new law extends the requirement to all motorized water vessels.
State Sen. David Carlucci said, “This new law will enable New York State to finally protect its waterways and save countless lives. 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.”