Boaters have a responsibility
I read the comments written quoted by state Assemblyman Andrew Goodell and I have to disagree with some of his statements.
There is no reason for tourism to be hurt if this bill is written and put into place correctly. Every person should be required to take a safe boating course if they wish to operate a vessel on New York state waters and no person should be grandfathered.
Anyone wishing to operate a vessel on inland waters or the Great Lakes and Inland Rivers must have a joint pilot and engineer license or a U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s license depending on the chosen water, when you are receiving remuneration.
At the minimum, this guarantees the customer that the operator of the vessel has at least a basic knowledge of safety and rules of the road.
A simple example of ignorance is the state no wake 100-foot law. The local communities surrounding Honeoye Lake have passed a local law extending that distance to 200 feet. This law is abused by boaters and it is posted very clearly at the state boat ramp located at the south end of lake.
Boaters do learn from experience and from mentors. However, what they learn and do is not necessarily safe, lawful, or in the best interest of other persons using public waters.
The solution is simple: Require operators to have in their possession a certificate stating they have taken an approved boating course, but use courses such as from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or recognize the courses from other states. Publish information about the new law, send press releases and, when a person renews their boat registration, give them a state safe boating book.
F.H. Tennity is a state licensed hunting and fishing guide, state joint pilot and engineer and U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain from Honeoye.