Death prompts demand for tougher PWC laws

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The family of a 14-year-old boy who died from injuries obtained in a personal watercraft accident two months ago is pushing for Florida lawmakers to raise the minimum age at which a child can legally operate the vessels to 16, according to an article yesterday in the Miami Herald.

This is an initiative supported by the Personal Watercraft Industry Association. Its executive director, Maureen Healey, told the newspaper, “You have to be 16 to drive a car, and we think that’s a good standard.”

Tyler Goldberg’s family has formed the Tyler Scott Goldberg Foundation, with a goal of preventing other young people from dying in such accidents.

The law currently set the minimum age at 14 and requires anyone under 21 to pass an approved boater safety course and carry a boater safety ID card. Not only is the foundation lobbying to get the minimum age raised, it wants the education requirements to include on-water instruction, according to the newspaper. Under today’s requirements, the course can be taken online.

While Florida made the change to 14 in 1989, this news comes only two years after New York and North Carolina upped their minimum age to 14 from 12.

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