Local boating club supports Brianna's Law
SENECA LAKE--The Finger Lakes Chapter of America's Boating Club supports a new boating safety law for New York waters.
The boating safety bill known as Brianna's Law, named after a young girl tragically killed in a boating accident off the shore of Long Island in 2005, was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Aug. 6.
The new law requires everyone over the age of 10 to pass a state-approved boating safety course to legally operate a mechanically driven vessel on waters in New York.
An approved boating safety course is offered by the Finger Lakes Chapter of America's Boating Club and other groups throughout the Finger Lakes.
Brianna's Law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020, and the course requirement will be phased in over a period of five years, starting with anyone born after Jan. 1, 1993. Older operators will be gradually affected by the law, with all operators of a mechanically driven vessel required to pass a boating safety course by Jan. 1, 2025.
The law applies to all vessels with a motor, including powered boats of any size, sailboats that have a motor and personal watercraft, also known as jet skis. Operators of sailboats, kayaks, standup paddleboards, rowboats, canoes and any other watercraft without a motor are not required to have a boating safety certificate to be on the water.
"All boaters should be aware of the requirements of this new law, which will make our local lakes and rivers safer places to enjoy," Jim McGinnis, president of the Finger Lakes Chapter of America's Boating Club, formerly known as the Seneca Sail and Power Squadron, said.
The club has for many years offered a state-approved boating safety class called America's Boating Course. The course covers federal- and state-required safety equipment; how to determine a boater's right of way on the water; safety measures for docking, refueling and trailering a boat; and much more.
"We will be offering America's Boating Course in several locations next spring," McGinnis said. "Classroom sessions will be supplemented by on-the-water practice. But those who want to get started early can take the course online."
McGinnis said Brianna's Law adds to the extra care that all boat operators should observe all the time.
"There are 450,000 powerboats just in New York state. Wear life jackets, don't drink alcohol or use drugs, check the weather, and be careful around other boaters," McGinnis said.