Some lawmakers want all NYS boaters to take safety course
Posted at: 07/23/2012 4:28 PM
By: Mark Mulholland
LAKE GEORGE - You don't need a license, or even a permit to pilot a boat. In fact, in New York, you don't need much more than a pulse.
Any adult can hop on board a boat and cruise around at any time, without any training.
But some downstate lawmakers are hoping to change that. They cite the July 4 drowning deaths of three children who were on an overcrowded boat, as one of the many reasons boating safety courses should be mandatory.
"Bad idea, I'm not for a lot of regulation," said Tony Scarbitti as he returned a rental boat on Lake George, Monday afternoon.
Lake George is the same body of water Scott Rawson has patrolled for 11 years as part of the Warren County Sheriffs Office's Marine Patrol Unit.
Rawson teaches the eight-hour boater safety courses. He says everyone who wants to skipper a boat, not just children, should have to take it.
"Being out here and seeing some of the fatalities and accidents, I would love it everyone had to take a safety course," said Rawson.
A group of young people from Rochester struggled to dock a pontoon boat Monday afternoon. The driver had taken a boater safety course 12 years ago. He says it's not necessary for everyone.
"I think you should be grandfathered in. Maybe a young kid coming in, that's fine. But my dad, he does not want to take a course. He doesn't need to, he's been doing it forever," said Craig Lamendola.