MINEOLA, NY – As the second half of the summer begins with a prevalent amount of injuries and fatalities in Long Island’s waterways, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran joined with District Attorney Madeline Singas, New York State Senator John Brooks, New York State Assemblywoman Judy Griffin, Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen, Nassau County Police Department Commissioner Patrick Ryder and Nassau County Police Marine Bureau to push for boating safety on Monday, July 22 at Wantagh Park Marina.
“While we are fortunate to have access to amazing waterways, those who operate any type of boat or watercraft need to do so responsibly and with diligence,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. “I urge both residents and tourists to never endanger themselves or others by boating recklessly. Do not ever operate a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs, always wear a life jacket and educate yourself on safety protocol and proper operation before driving any type of watercraft.”
Boating crash survivor Gina Costa Lieneck, who lost her 11-year-old daughter in a boating accident in 2005, was also on site to speak about the importance of boater education and her legislation, Brianna’s Law - a law requiring all boaters in New York to take an eight-hour boating safety class.
“Until there are laws in place that prevent people from operating a boat or watercraft without proper education, I will be this industry’s biggest nightmare,” said Gina Costa Lieneck. “Although the boating accident that took my daughter’s life 14 years ago took a lot out of me, it also gave me an inexhaustible drive to see to it that something like this never happens to another family. And yet, week after week I watch the news and read the papers and people are still dying. I applaud Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and all officials who are promoting boating safety. It is a critical reminder that will save lives. And so, will the passage of Brianna’s Law. I am grateful that the New York State Legislature passed this crucial boating safety bill this past June. I am hopeful that it will be signed into law soon.”
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, top five contributing factors in accidents are operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, machinery failure, and alcohol use. Nassau County officials stressed the importance of boating with caution.
“Long Island’s waters provide a wonderful opportunity for sport and recreation of all kinds. But wherever groups of people and moving vehicles of any kind interact, safety must come first. Reckless, negligent or impaired operation has deadly consequences. It also has potential criminal consequences. For everyone’s sake please slow down and think. Lives depend on it,” said Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.
“Nassau County is the busiest recreational boating county in New York State. Over 40,000 recreational boats are currently registered here in addition to the large number of commercial fishing vessels that call Nassau County home. The safety of those that utilize our waterways is of utmost importance to NCPD as we continue into our summer season. The Nassau County Police Marine Bureau will continue to enforce navigational laws to ensure the safety of our residents all visitors. I urge all boaters and their guests to adhere to all safety regulations to assist our department in reaching our goal which is a safe boating season,” said Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder.
“The safety of our waterways in New York is every bit as important as the safety of our roadways. Brianna Lieneck and her family paid the ultimate price from inadequate regulation. Knowing the laws of the waterways is crucial and it is simply a matter of common sense that informed vessel-operators will result in safer waters. I am confident that it will save lives,” said New York State Senator John Brooks
“We want to ensure smooth sailing for all of our residents and visitors, especially during the busy summer season, which marks the peak for boating in all of our historically nautical communities across the South Shore of Long Island,” said Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen. “The Town’s Bay Constables are strictly enforcing speeding limits, especially in ‘no wake zones,’ and responding to suspicions of BWI, or Boating While Intoxicated, so that we avoid another tragedy.”
County Executive Curran emphasizes the importance of following safety protocol, taking safety courses, not using alcohol or drugs while operating a vessel and wearing a life jacket.
County Executive Curran shares the following tips: