SUFFOLK COUNTY, New York – Marine police in Suffolk County are finding that a New York state law that personal watercraft operators must take a boating safety course is reducing accidents and deaths on the water, according to an article today on Newsday.com.
The law has been phased in over the past four years, with this year serving as the first one in which all PWC operators must take a course. And despite overcrowded classes, safety officials are cracking down, issuing citations of $25 to $100 instead of warnings, the newspaper reported.
The good news, according to safety officers, is that the law appears to be working. There were only 69 watercraft accidents last year, the lowest total since 1994, according to the newspaper. And only four people have died in watercraft accidents in the past four years, compared to 15 people in the previous four years.
“There is no doubt that a viable argument can be made that there is a direct correlation between the requirement for training and certification and a reduction in the accidents we see that involve personal watercraft,” Officer Joel Fuoco of the Nassau police marine bureau told the newspaper.