Bill S450-2013

Requires operators of a mechanically propelled vessel to hold a boating safety certificate

Mandates that all operators of mechanically propelled vessels obtain a boating safety certificate and prohibits children under the age of sixteen from operating such vessels unless accompanied by a certificated person sixteen or older except for the operation of certain vessels with small engines by persons between thirteen and fifteen years of age.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO CULTURAL AFFAIRS, TOURISM, PARKS AND RECREATION
  • Jan 9, 2013: REFERRED TO CULTURAL AFFAIRS, TOURISM, PARKS AND RECREATION

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S450

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the navigation law, in relation to the operation of a mechanically propelled vessel

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 of the bill amends subdivisions 1 and 3 of section 49 of the navigation law, as amended by chapter 805 of the laws of 1992, by mandating that no person sixteen years of age or older shall operate a mechanically propelled vessel on the navigable waters of the state or any tidewaters bordering on or lying within the boundaries of Nassau and Suffolk Counties unless the operator holds a boating safety certificate issued by the commissioner, the United States Power Squadrons or the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The bill also amends this section of the navigation law by mandating that no person under sixteen years of age or younger shall operate a mechanically propelled vessel unless they hold a boating safety certificate and are accompanied by a person sixteen years of age or older who also holds a boating safety certificate, except that a person who is under sixteen years of age but at least thirteen years of age and possesses a boating safety certificate may operate a mechanically propelled vessel powered by an electric motor or a vessel which is twelve feet or longer and powered by a motor of less than ten horsepower.

Section 2 of the bill sets forth an effective date on the first of January next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.

JUSTIFICATION:

At present, the New York State Navigation Law does not mandate boating safety certificates for all operators even though it sets forth certain safety training requirements for minors between the ages of 10 and 18. This is simply unacceptable given the increasing numbers of vessels operating on New York state waterways and an ever increasing number of serious and fatal accidents occurring on those waterways.

The 2011 Recreational Boating Statistics published United States Coast Guard (Commandant Publication P16754.25) shows that approximately 89% of all boating fatalities occurred on boats where the operator had not completed a boating safety education course. The Coast Guard has also reported that operators without safety certificates are more likely to engage in negligent and inappropriate behavior such as operator inattention, careless and reckless operation, operating at an unsafe speed and no proper lookout and such behaviors in addition to operator inexperience are among the "top five primary contributing factors in accidents".

Given the high correlation between a lack of a safety training and fatal boating accidents, it is reasonable to mandate that anyone who operates a mechanically propelled vehicle be required to have boating safety training.

Many organizations, including the United States Power Squadrons and the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, already provide boating safety courses that require about 8 hours of preparation and cost between $25 and $75 and issue a boating safety certificate upon completion. In addition, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will charge a minimal $10 fee to obtain a boating safety certificate upon completion of an approved "New York Safe Boating Course".

The benefits of mandating boater safety training far outweigh the relatively minimal cost to the boating public in both time and money.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

2011-12: S.7833

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

The act shall take effect on the first of January next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 450 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. AVELLA -- 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 a mechanically propelled vessel THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivisions 1 and 3 of section 49 of the navigation law, as amended by chapter 805 of the laws of 1992, are amended to read as follows: 1. A. No person [under the age of eighteen] SIXTEEN years OF AGE OR OLDER shall operate a mechanically propelled vessel on the navigable waters of the state or any tidewaters bordering on or lying within the boundaries of Nassau and Suffolk counties, unless[: a.] the operator is [accompanied therein by a person who is eighteen years of age or older, or,] THE HOLDER OF A BOATING SAFETY CERTIFICATE ISSUED TO HIM BY THE COMMISSIONER, THE UNITED STATES POWER SQUADRONS OR THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD AUXILIARY. b. NO PERSON UNDER SIXTEEN YEARS OF AGE SHALL OPERATE A MECHANICALLY PROPELLED VESSEL ON THE NAVIGABLE WATERS OF THE STATE OR ANY TIDEWATERS BORDERING ON OR LYING WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF NASSAU AND SUFFOLK COUN- TIES, UNLESS the operator is [ten years of age or older and is] the holder of a boating safety certificate issued to him by the commission- er, the United States Power Squadrons or the United States coast guard auxiliary AND IS ACCOMPANIED THEREIN BY A PERSON WHO IS SIXTEEN YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER WHO ALSO HOLDS SUCH A BOATING SAFETY CERTIFICATE, EXCEPT THAT A PERSON WHO IS UNDER SIXTEEN YEARS OF AGE BUT AT LEAST THIRTEEN YEARS OF AGE AND POSSESSES SUCH A BOATING SAFETY CERTIFICATE MAY OPERATE (1) A MECHANICALLY PROPELLED VESSEL POWERED SOLELY BY AN ELECTRIC MOTOR; OR (2) A MECHANICALLY PROPELLED VESSEL WHICH IS TWELVE FEET OR GREATER
IN LENGTH AND POWERED BY A MOTOR, OR COMBINATION OF MOTORS, OF LESS THAN TEN HORSEPOWER. 3. No person who is the owner of a mechanically propelled vessel shall knowingly authorize or permit the operation thereof on the navigable waters of the state or any tidewaters bordering on or lying within the boundaries of Nassau and Suffolk counties, unless[: a.] the operator [is eighteen years of age or older or, b. the operator is accompanied therein by a person eighteen years of age or older or, c. the operator is ten years of age or older and is the holder of a boating safety certificate issued to him by the commissioner, the United States Power Squadrons or the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary] MEETS THE REQUIREMENTS OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION. S 2. This act shall take effect on the first of January next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law.

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