New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo just signed a law requiring anyone operating a motorboat on the state’s waterways to take an eight-hour boating safety course. The law has a phase-in period, giving boat owners time to comply, that goes to Jan. 1, 2025.
The new legislation is called Brianna’s Law, after Brianna Lieneck, of Deer Park, New York (pictured above), who was killed in a boating accident in August, 2005. She and her family were riding home on Great South Bay when a larger powerboat crashed into the side of their boat where Brianna was seating. She was killed, and her parents and her sister, Danyelle, who was 13 at the time, were all seriously injured. Brianna’s parents, Gina and Frank Lieneck, have lobbied for greater boating safety legislation for years.
“Boating has become much more popular and our rules and our laws have not kept pace with it,” Cuomo said at the signing. “There should be a basic level of knowledge that you have before you’re given the permission to go out there and operate a boat, and making a safety course mandatory is common sense.”
Everyone operating a motorboat in the state must have a certificate showing they completed the course, according to the phase-in period. People cruising through New York need a certificate showing they have taken a boating safety course, approved by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators, in their home states.
New York State officials estimate that almost one million people will have to take the courses before the end of the phase-in period. Anyone buying a new boat will need a certificate, also in accordance with the phase-in. Previously boater safety courses were required for boaters born after May 1, 1996. Here’s the new timetable:
The boating course certificate is required in:
2020 for all operators of motorboats born in 1993 or later.
2022 for all operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1988.
2023 for all operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1983.
2024 for all operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1978.
2025 for all operators.