FLUSHING, N.Y. – Legislation has just been introduced in New York State that would require boaters to take an eight-hour class and receive a training certificate before they could legally pilot motorboats, the Flushing Times reported in a story this morning.
The course required by the bill, introduced by Queens City Councilman Tony Avella and state Assemblyman Michael Gianaris, is similar to the five-hour driving course required before New York state residents can test for a driver's license, the Times said.
The bill would also mandate that children between ages 10 and 16 must have a trained pilot over age 16 in the boat with them. Several groups currently offer the boating courses – including the Coast Guard Auxiliary, according to the newspaper.
"Until I started to look into this, I didn't realize how lax the regulations are," Gianaris told the newspaper. "You can be just 10 years old and be able to get in a motorboat by yourself. This can lead to fatal accidents. This is something that's very preventable. It is critical that we ensure the safety of those who operate motor boats as we do those who drive cars."
Avella and Gianaris are hoping to build support for the measure in the Assembly and find a sponsor who will introduce the bill in the Senate, the Times reported.