The parents of a Huntington girl are calling on the Coast Guard to require upgraded capacity limits and posting requirements for recreational boats.
At a press conference July 15, Paul Gaines, the , 7, of Huntington, urged that recreational boat limits be visibly posted on board vessels to warn operators and passengers of total capacities and weight load.
“While we explore what exactly went wrong during this trip, it is vital we do everything possible to ensure that no family ever has to experience the grief that we are currently going through,” said Gaines, in the Manhattan office of Sen. Charles Schumer. “Posting capacity limits on boats over 20 feet would be a huge step forward."
Three children died when a 34-foot Silverton cabin cruiser carrying more than two dozen people capsized after a fireworks show near Oyster Bay.
"Like all New Yorkers, I was heartbroken when I heard of the tragedy," said Schumer to Patch on Wednesday. "The Gaines family reached out to my office with a simple but powerful idea to make sure all boats post clear capacity limits to help prevent similar tragedies in the future, and I’m urging the Coast Guard to implement this policy as quickly as possible."
A Coast Guard official in Washington, D.C., told Patch they share in the senator's concern for the safety of the recreational boating community.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the three children who perished in this tragic accident," said Cmdr. Chris O'Neil, chief of media relations with the Coast Guard. "We are dedicated to reducing recreational boating related injuries and fatalities through boater education and effective regulations."
Authority to promulgate regulations for the promotion of safety of life is the responsibility of the Coast Guard, according to Schumer, D-N.Y.
In a letter to Adm. Bob Papp, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Schumer argued that a visibly displayed plaque could help dissuade boat owners or passengers from overcrowding a vessel. The lawmaker pushed for regulations to require that limits be posted visibly next to the steering console or the stern of boat, and in full view of boarding passengers.
“It doesn’t make much sense that we require capacity limits be posted for most everything from ballrooms to classrooms, and boats under 20 feet in size, but not recreational vessels over 20 feet,” Schumer said.
Piloted by Salvatore Aureliano, the boat capsized with 27 people aboard, including 10 children and the boat's owner, Kevin Treanor, Aureliano's brother-in-law.
Twelve-year-old , a nephew of Mr. Aureliano, and , 11, the daughter of Mr. Treanor, also died in the accident after being trapped inside the boat as it sank.
In an interview on NBC's "Today" show last week, Lisa Gaines, the mother of Victoria Gaines, said there was no warning before the accident.
A lawyer representing Treanor said July 6 that the combined wakes of passing boats leaving the fireworks display could have been big enough to topple the boat even if it had been carrying a lighter load, according to a New York Times report.
Last week, the boat was raised to the surface and transported to a facility in Woodmere where an investigation by the FBI and Nassau Police Department examining the reasons for the vessel’s capsizing is ongoing. No criminal charges have been filed.