New Boating Safety Legislation makes it’s way to Gov. Cuomo’s desk

Sources: Patch, WRGB Albany

Boating safety in New York State will likely see improvement with new legislation on its way to Governor Cuomo’s desk to receive his signature. Current boating safety legislation requires only people born after May, 1996 to have a boater’s safety course certificate otherwise known as a boater’s license. “Brianna’s Law” was proposed to reconstitute the boater’s safety legislation and has passed through both the State Assembly and State Senate. “Brianna’s Law” will require any individual operating a powered vessel to have the boater’s safety course approved by commissioner of parks, recreation and historic preservation. The final step in making this legislation a law is Governor Cuomo’s longed for signature.

The development of “Brianna’s Law” has been on-going for almost 14 years since the tragic death of 11-year-old Brianna Lieneck. Back in 2005, Brianna and her family were making their voyage back from Fire Island when another vessel struck their boat on the Great South Bay. The accident resulted in the tragic death of 11-year-old Brianna and her parents in critical condition. Brianna’s mother, Gina Lieneck, has been advocating for this law to be passed in honor of her daughter. “I made a promise to her that I will do all that it takes to get this law passed. It’s not just about the death of my daughter, but all the lives that have been lost on our waterways due to uneducated boaters.”

The death of 11-year-old Brianna Lieneck is not the only life taken too soon. A fatal boating accident on Lake George in 2016 resulted in the loss of 8-year-old Charlotte McCue. A similar situation where one boat struck another boat resulting in a tragic and awful ending. The unfair and untimely deaths of these two innocent children could have been prevented with the proper knowledge and training on boating safety. “Brianna’s Law” will improve this lack of knowledge and educate everyone operating a powered vessel on how to boat safely, handle emergency situations, and prevent anymore tragedies on New York’s beautiful waters.

The new legislation is expected to be signed by Governor Cuomo within the next few weeks. Once Gov. Cuomo signs the legislation to finalize the law it will be implemented and applied to all New York State waters. “Brianna’s Law” will apply to drivers of private vessels with motorized propellers. Boat renters will be required to take an instructional course prior to taking the boat on the water if they do not have a boater’s safety course. The law will be phased in throughout the next five years.