New York State seeks stricter boating regulations
Posted by: Melanie Chapman
Published on: July 28th, 2012 at 8:00 AM
If much of your weekends are spent on any of New York’s many lakes, then you’re probably well aware of the restrictions that currently face boaters, and of the penalties that enforce these restrictions.
If you don’t get to the lake much, then allow me to let you in on a little something—those “restrictions” are minimal, and the enforcement backing them is close to none.
I spend just about every decent Sunday on Saratoga Lake. The two rules that I’m aware of include a speed limit, and a no-drinking-and-driving policy. And though I’ve seen a Sheriff’s boat about occasionally, I’ve never witnessed it reprimand anybody.
Basically, what I’m saying is that you can do just about anything on a boat in New York—drive without a license (I don’t think you even need one if you’re over 18), drink and drive, speed through no-wake zones, and anything else you might imagine.
So it’s interesting to hear that lawmakers, in light of recent boating deaths, are reconsidering the lack of regulation. Their ultimate goal is to institute a requirement, which would entail that anyone who wishes to drive a boat first take an eight-hour boater safety course. This course, which is already required for drivers under the age of 18, would essentially earn boaters their boating license.
Now, I have nothing against drivers being required to sit through a safety course before getting behind the wheel. It also wouldn’t bother me if the rules remained the way they are. My question is whether or not this requirement will be enforced if and when it is approved. Because if patrol remains at its current level, adding additional regulations would be a bit of a joke.
Do you spend a lot of time on the lake? If so, do you think that boaters should be required to take a safety course before driving, or are things fine the way they are?