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Boating safety bill spurred by Oyster Bay deaths passes in Assembly

A 1984 Silverton Convertible 34 cabin cruiser, similar

A 1984 Silverton Convertible 34 cabin cruiser, similar to the one involved in a fatal boating accident off Lloyd Neck on July 4. Credit:

The first boating safety bill spurred by the fatal accident in which three children drowned last July Fourth in Oyster Bay has passed one house of the state Legislature.

A bill requiring all operators of motorized craft to take a boating safety course passed the Assembly on Wednesday. It was sponsored by Assemb. Sandy Galef, a Democrat from Westchester. The same bill is being sponsored in the Senate by Sen. David Carlucci, a Democrat from Westchester-Rockland.

A Long Island Republican, Sen. Charles Fuschillo, who chairs the Transportation Committee, has introduced a different bill to require all boaters to take a safety course.

And Suffolk County last year approved a similar bill spurred by the capsizing of the Kandi Won in Oyster Bay that would take effect in the fall unless superseded by state legislation.

The Galef bill would phase in the course requirement, starting with boaters 18 years of age the first year, and increase the age by one year in each subsequent year until all boaters are covered. The Fuschillo bill calls for more rapid implementation.

“Inexperienced and reckless boaters are significant sources of boating accidents and fatalities in New York, especially along the Hudson River and in the Long Island Sound,” Galef said. She noted that the Coast Guard attributes 86 percent of boating fatalities in 2012 to operators who had not taken a boating safety course.

Both Fuschillo’s and Carlucci’s legislation have been approved by the Transportation Committee, a Fuschillo spokesman said. “Senator Fuschillo remains hopeful that the State Legislature will enact a law requiring boating safety certificates to make our waterways safer for all boaters and families,” the spokesman added.

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