Relates to the operation of rowboats, canoes and kayaks.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the navigation law, in relation to the operation of rowboats, canoes and kayaks
PURPOSE: This bill makes it mandatory for all persons aboard a rowboat, canoe or kayak to wear a personal flotation device at all times while the vessel is underway.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1: Corrects a clerical error of the spelling of "superseding".
Corrects a clerical error to include "or kayak" in order to be consistent with other provisions in the navigation law.
Removes "or a rowboat, canoe or kayak" from the provision requiring all persons under age twelve to wear a personal flotation device at all times because the new law requires all persons, regardless of age, to wear a personal flotation device at all times.
Removes "or a rowboat, canoe or kayak" from the provision requiring all persons aboard all vessels to wear a personal flotation device at all times between November first and May first because the new law requires all persons, regardless of the season, to wear a personal flotation device at all times.
Adds a new paragraph (f), which makes it mandatory for all persons aboard a rowboat, canoe or kayak to wear a personal flotation device at all times when such vessel is underway.
Section 2: The effective date is 30 days after the act becomes law.
JUSTIFICATION: In New York, we are fortunate to have considerable access to the Atlantic Ocean, the Great Lakes, the Long Island Sound, the Finger Lakes, the Hudson River and many other waterways that touch every corner of our State. This access allows us to take part in any number of water-based recreational activities, including operating rowboats, canoes and kayaks. Operating these vessels helps us stay active and offers a fun and engaging way to experience New York's scenic waterways. It should therefore be our priority to ensure these recreational activities are performed safely by persons of all ages and abilities.
Current law provides that from November first through May first a personal flotation device ("PFD") must be worn by all persons at all times while onboard a rowboat, canoe or kayak. However, from May first through November first, a PFD must merely be onboard a rowboat, canoe or kayak, but need not actually be worn by persons over 12 years old (children under 12 must wear a PFD at all times on vessels under 65 feet).
On August 12, 2011, Patrick Luca, a 41 year old father, husband, and 21-year veteran of the New York Police Department, was kayaking with his young son on the Long Island Sound. At some point the vessel tipped over and Patrick and his son were ejected from the kayak. Patrick, who was not wearing a PFD, which, during the summer months, was not required to be worn, tragically drowned. His son-who was wearing a PFD-was found alive a half-hour later by a boater passing by.
Unfortunately, this type of accident is not uncommon. According to the United States Coast Guard, in 2010 176 persons died while operating or riding upon a rowboat, canoe or kayak. Of those 176, 128 were known to not be wearing a PFD at the time of their death (a 73% fatality rate). Thus, nearly three-quarters of all persons who died while onboard a rowboat, canoe or kayak were not wearing a PFD. Rowboats, canoes and kayaks sit low to the water and therefore are susceptible to tipping, particularly in strong currents, bad weather, and the like. Even in calm water, a sudden change in the boats balance, such as when one or more persons try to stand or switch positions in the vessel, and can lead to tipping. This legislation would require a PFD be worn by all persons aboard a rowboat, canoe or kayak at all times-including the summer months.
In the memory of Patrick Luca, it should be our prerogative to make a concerted effort to ensure the safety of those New Yorkers who recreationally enjoy our waterways. This legislation will do just that.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2012: Passed Senate/Assembly transportation committee
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it becomes law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1442 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. FLANAGAN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation AN ACT to amend the navigation law, in relation to the operation of rowboats, canoes and kayaks THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The opening paragraph and paragraphs (c), (d) and (e) of subdivision 1 of section 40 of the navigation law, the opening paragraph as amended by chapter 163 of the laws of 1991, paragraph (c) as amended by chapter 74 of the laws of 1998, paragraph (d) as amended by chapter 484 of the laws of 2005 and paragraph (e) as added by chapter 115 of the laws of 2009, are amended and a new paragraph (f) is added to read as follows: Equipment required herein shall be carried on every vessel except as otherwise provided, while underway, or at anchor with any person aboard, while on the navigable waters of the state and any tidewaters bordering on or lying within the boundaries of Nassau and Suffolk counties. Should the federal government adopt vessel equipment requirements different from those contained in this section, the commissioner shall be author- ized to adopt rules and regulations
[superceding]SUPERSEDING the vessel equipment requirements of this section to achieve consistency with federal standards, and shall submit such proposed rules and regulations to the secretary of state in accordance with the state administrative procedure act within thirty days of the adoption of federal equipment requirements or submit a statement as to why such conforming changes are not being proposed. (c) Every operator or person in charge or control of a pleasure vessel, rowboat [or], canoe [,]OR KAYAK as described in paragraphs (a)EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD05634-01-3 S. 1442 2
and (b) of this subdivision, shall be responsible for compliance with the provisions of this subdivision. (d) No person shall operate a pleasure vessel of Class A, one, two or three as classified and defined in subdivision one of section forty- three of this article
[or a rowboat, canoe or kayak]nor shall the owner of such vessel while on board such vessel knowingly permit its opera- tion, unless each person on such vessel under the age of twelve is wear- ing a securely fastened United States Coast Guard approved wearable personal flotation device of an appropriate size when said vessel is underway. The provisions of this paragraph shall not apply to any person on such vessel under the age of twelve who is within a fully enclosed cabin. (e) No owner or operator of a pleasure vessel less than twenty-one feet [, including rowboats, canoes, and kayaks]shall permit its opera- tion, between November first and May first, unless each person on board such vessel is wearing a securely fastened United States Coast Guard approved wearable personal flotation device of an appropriate size when such vessel is underway. (F) NO OWNER OR OPERATOR OF A ROWBOAT, CANOE OR KAYAK SHALL PERMIT ITS OPERATION UNLESS EACH PERSON ON BOARD SUCH VESSEL IS WEARING A SECURELY FASTENED UNITED STATES COAST GUARD APPROVED WEARABLE PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICE OF AN APPROPRIATE SIZE WHEN SUCH VESSEL IS UNDERWAY. S 2. This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become a law.