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Move to licence USA boaters heralds greater safety

by Sophia Hall, WCPS880/Sail-World Cruising on 15 Oct 2012
Boating safety - don’t let this happen to you .. .
Great oaks from little acorns grow, and the Suffolk County in New York may be spearheading the push for better sailing safety on USA waterways with their new 'Safer Waterways Act'. The new act came into force this week, only three months after three children died in a boating accident on Long Island Sound.

The new law requires operators of boats to take a safety course and have the certificate displayed on board the vessel.

As WCBS 880?s Sophia Hall has reported, the three children, eight-year-old Victoria Gaines, 11-year-old Harlie Treanor and 12-year-old David Aureliano, were trapped in the boat’s cabin when the yacht capsized, authorities determined.

Victoria’s mother said she applauds this new law, but said it is just the first step.

'I wanted to take a moment to thank the Suffolk County legislature for acting quickly in the signing of this law, only three months after our accident,' Lisa Gaines told WCBS 880. 'We would then like to move this law up the ladder to the state and federal levels and we would like to see the Coast Guard embrace this fully, as we need their support and cannot do it without them.'

Gaines said she would also like to see more regulations for boat operators. 'Capacity limit law, continued education and certification, enforcement and penalties. I am not only speaking for my daughter but I am speaking for Harlie Treanor and David Aureliano who also died on that night,' Gaines said.

Victoria Gaines died a day before what would have been her ninth birthday.

The children were trapped in the cabin of a 34-foot yacht called the Kandi Won when it flipped and sank on July 4 following a fireworks ceremony in the waters off Oyster Bay on Long Island.

The new law only impacts Suffolk County. New York State only requires a boating safety course and does not license boat operators.
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