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Boating Safety Takes On New Urgency

3 events take up new regulations, education.

Three events this week focus on boating safety and regulations, spurred in part by the that claimed the lives of three local youngters.

On Monday, Suffolk County Legislator Steven Stern, D-Huntington, proposed  the Suffolk Safer Waterways Act, which would mandate that boaters display a safety course certificate while boating or face fines.

"A day on the water should be one of pleasure, not one that ends in tragedy, but too often that's exactly what happens," Stern said at a press conference at Tanner Park in Copiague on Monday afternoon.

On Tuesday, the Town of Huntington is offering a forum on several aspects of boater safety. The one-hour forum starts at 7:30 p.m. and will be held at Town Hall. It is being held in partnership with the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society, the Greater Huntington Council of Yacht & Boating Clubs, the Huntington Harbormaster’s Office, the United States Coast Guard and Auxiliary, the Suffolk County Police Marine Division, Neptune Power Squadron, local fire departments and Incorporated Villages. Topics will include weather and communication, vessel preparation, emergencies and search and rescue scenarios.

And on Wednesday, state senators are planning a hearing in Oyster Bay on boat safety

Sen. Carl L. Marcellino, R-Syosset, said the meeting will examine current boating safety laws and regulations and whether changes are needed to The meeting, to be held at Oyster Bay Town Hall, is scheduled for at 11 a.m. The hearing will be held in conjunction with members of the Senate Standing Committee on Investigations and Government Operations.

“This  hearing  will provide us with a forum to hear the concerns and ideas of  all  those  involved  in recreational boating," Marcellino said. "Unfortunately, you have people out on the water now who might not realize how dangerous their actions can be."

A number of other accidents have occurred this summer. In July, a Seaford man was accused of driving a boat while intoxicated. In June, Christopher Mannino, of West Islip, was following a crash under the Robert Moses Causeway. A Dix Hills man has been charged with boating while intoxicated in that case.

State Sen. Charles Fuschillo, R-Merrick, has similar legislation at the state level calling for mandated safety courses, as well as stiffer penalties for boating under the influence.

FYI August 10, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Questions should be answered before increased legislation and regulations are put in place. First, are law enforcement doing their job on the water? Yes, the boats are on the water but where are the agency heads with the number of stops and summonses issued to justify their presence? Bay constables, harbormasters, Coast Guard and other on the water agencies, show us your records. Those blue lights should be constantly flashing as you board boats for inspections, never mind the obvious violations that occur so often that endanger everyone.
douglas stretton August 12, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Your comment seems to suggest that the level of enforcement on the water is lacking to some dergee. Thus...puting more regulations into effect will have little effect if they aren't or can't be enforced. Could be a valid point. But my question is....if a boaters safety course became a reguirement...wouldn't that increase the knowledge of many boaters that lack basic saftey skills? In my opinion, the issue is about furthering public saftey at the moment. Justification of the enforcement agencies roll on the water or lack of it....doesn't seem to be the matter at hand.

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