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State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne and a contingent of Putnam County officials and emergency responders appeared at MacDonald Marine in Mahopac last week to promote awareness for boater and water safety, including the need for the state’s Boating Safety Certificate.
Established by Brianna’s Law, which was enacted in 2019, New York State is requiring all motorized and personal watercraft operators to carry a New York Boating Safety Certificate by January 2025. This requirement is being gradually phased in, and this year it applies to people born on or after January 1s, 1988. Brianna’s Law is named after Brianna Lieneck, an 11-year-old Long Island girl who was killed in a 2005 boating accident.
“As we begin the summer and start our water activities, we want to make sure that all folks who operate watercraft are aware of Brianna’s Law, which requires many people to obtain a boating safety certificate for this year, and all people by the start of 2025,” Byrne said. “We are very fortunate that we have a lot of great places to recreate throughout our summer months here in Putnam County. Brianna’s Law will ensure that people are aware of the proper safety precautions as they decide to go out with their families and friends to enjoy some time on our lakes this summer.”
“We are glad Assemblyman Byrne is bringing this law to the attention of our community,” said Carmel Supervisor Michael Cazzari. “As a former marine officer with the Town of Carmel Police Department, I can attest to the importance of safety on the lake. We haven’t had a serious accident on the lake in quite some time, but classes like this are important to keeping it that way.”
Also on hand at the June 21 press conference were representatives from the Carmel Police Department, the Mahopac Falls Volunteer Fire Department’s Dive Team, and the Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department.
“We are very fortunate that water incidents in our area are few and far between,” said Mahopac Volunteer Fire Chief Andrew Roberto. “However, there is an extremely high potential for a catastrophic incident to occur at any time. It is imperative that all minors are closely supervised when swimming or boating. Many of the serious or fatal water emergencies that do occur involve persons under the age of 18. Remember that for any incidents involving fires, do not over-extend yourself to try to put out said fire – especially if there is no life hazard involved.”
Some helpful boating tips from the United States Coast Guard include making sure you have a fire extinguisher on the boat, check your engine cutoff switches, have the proper education, perform vessel safety checks, have the appropriate amount of life jackets on board, have a float plan, and avoid boating under the influence.
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