Each summer the Long Island community is plagued with devastating stories of boating trips gone awry. It was only a year ago that Dr. Richard Melucci of John T Mather Memorial Hospital drowned in the Long Island Sound. Dr. Melucci was an avid boater who fell off his 25-foot vessel while out with his wife. Unfortunately, stories such as these are all too common for Long Island residents. Even the most experienced boaters can fall prey to unforeseeable changes in the waters temperament.
With boating comes risk, but there are ways to prepare you and your family. New York State law requires individuals born after May 1st, 1996 to complete a boating education course before operating a motorboat. Children ten years and younger are not permitted to operate a motorboat under any circumstances. Boat Owners have 120 days from the date of purchase to complete a boating registration course.
Persons under the age of fourteen may not operate a personal watercraft, such as a Jet Ski, without completing a boater safety certificate. Boating certificates can be completed through the NYS Parks Department, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or numerous approved online providers.
Tips for Safe Boating
In order to stay safe this summer here are a few simple boating rules.
- Always be conscious of the weather when planning a trip. If the forecast begins to change head back to shore to ensure a safe return.
- Develop a float plan for your friends or family at home. A float plan includes your planned destination, your trip itinerary and a list of your passengers.
- Ensure that all of those people who are operating the vessel have completed the necessary safety certifications.
- Avoid consuming alcohol until after your boating trip. The probability of being involved in a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved.
- Prepare a pre-departure checklist to make sure you have all of the proper safety equipment for various weather situations.
- See to it that all individuals, regardless of age or capability, wear a life jacket while aboard.
- Proper boating safety includes that passengers know how to swim. Check your local area for swimming classes for all ages.
- Always have a VHR-FM marine radio onboard. Cell phones can lose service while away from shore but a VHR-FM radio can be used to reach the coast guard at any time day or night.
- Take advantage of the U.S. Coast Guards free vessel safety check.
- Lastly, use common sense while operating a vessel. Remain at a safe speed and don’t navigate too close to other boaters.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, you have rights. TonaLaw may be able to help. Just call us at 1-833-TONALAW or fill in the form below and we will offer you a free consultation.