New boating safety law for New Yorkers

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Boaters in Suffolk County, on New York’s Long Island, have new safety education requirements affecting all county residents 18 and older who operate motorized vessels.

Starting Nov. 6, county residents must take an approved boating safety course, pass an exam and carry a boating safety certificate while boating on county waters.

These requirements are in addition to existing New York state boater education laws.

To help the county's boaters understand and comply with the recently enacted requirements, BoatUS has a free, one-page fact sheet available for pick up at the six Suffolk County West Marine stores or they can download the sheet at www.boatus.com/suffolkfactsheet.

"We want to help boaters and our BoatUS members in Suffolk County understand the requirements so they have plenty of time to take a National Association of Boating Law Administrators-approved boating safety course," BoatUS’s Nicole Wood says. "Our free BoatUS Foundation Online Boating Safety Course satisfies this requirement for those 18 years and older and is great if you have a busy schedule," she added. Boaters can go to BoatUS.org to enroll.

Classroom courses, which the law requires for those under 18 and those operating personal watercraft, range from 6-8 hours. Fees start at about $30 and range up to about $100. A listing of NASBLA-approved Suffolk County courses can be found at www.nysparks.com/recreation/boating/safety-courses.aspx.

The six West Marine store locations with flyers in stock are Huntington, West Babylon, West Islip, Patchogue, Port Jefferson and Riverhead. For exact locations and driving instructions, go to BoatUS.com/servicelocator.