State boating law would supercede Suffolk bill

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | State lawmakers have approved a boat safety bill of their own.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | State lawmakers have approved a boat safety bill of their own.

A state boating safety bill awaiting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature would supercede the Suffolk County legislation set to take effect in the fall.

First District State Senator Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson), who supported the measure, said he anticipates the governor’s approval.

“When you have counties involved already on a very high profile matter that’s got peoples’ attention, I’d expect the governor to sign it,” the senator said. “You don’t throw a person the keys to a car without lessons. Educating people on boating safety makes good sense.

The bill says that six months after its approval all boat operators younger than 18 must take boating safety classes and obtain a safety certificate.

Within a year anyone over 18 who is not a registered boat owner must secure a safety certificate before operating a vessell. After two years all boaters must be certified. Penalties for first offenders would range from $100 to $250.

The Suffolk County bill requires resident boaters to attend safety classes and pass a test before obtaining a required boating safety certificate. Non-county residents would not need a certificate before taking to the water.

Mr. LaValle said it is not clear if the courses offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary in anticipation of the county law taking effect would satisfy the state requirement.

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