News notes – Long Island Sound – Oct. 2006

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N.Y. increases BWI penalty

Effective Aug. 6, the penalties for boating while intoxicated in New York state were increased. State Sen. John J. Flanagan (2nd Senate District) sponsored the new law in partnership with Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli (16th Assembly District).

The new law, which was passed in June and signed by Gov. George Pataki in July, will bring the current penalties for BWI up to the level of penalties for driving while intoxicated.

“Assemblyman DiNapoli and I fought for this law because boaters should be able to enjoy the waterways of Long Island without being confronted by those who disregard the law,” said Flanagan.

Under the new law, a first conviction for BWI will be a misdemeanor, which carries a sentence of up to one year instead of the current 90 days. The fine will increase from $350 to $500, to a range of between $500 and $1,000.

A second conviction for BWI within 10 years will rise to Class E felony status with a sentence of up to four years in prison and a fine between $1,000 and $5,000. Those convicted of BWI three times within 10 years will be charged with a Class D felony and face up to seven years in prison and a fine between $2,000 and $10,000.

The fine for a first-time conviction of boating while ability impaired will increase the penalty to a maximum of $500, up from its current maximum of $350. A second infraction within a five-year period will carry a maximum fine of $750 and up to 30 days imprisonment. The penalty for a third conviction of BWAI within a 10-year period will increase from an infraction to a misdemeanor, and will carry a maximum period of imprisonment of six months and a maximum fine of up to $1,500.

In 2003 New York lowered the BWI blood alcohol content threshold from .10 to .08.

In 2004 — the most recent year statistics are available from the state’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation — there were about 520,000 registered boats in New York, with 178 boating accidents reported. Of the 18 boating accidents that resulted in deaths in New York that year, nearly 28 percent involved alcohol.

Marine police make arrests for BWI

Three men were arrested by Environmental Conservation officers of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection on the lower Connecticut River July 15, and charged with boating under the influence.

A Glastonbury man was arrested Aug. 5 and charged with boating under the influence, illegal operation of a personal watercraft after sunset, and PWC operation without a certificate.

The three arrested July 15 were: Daniel T. Newell, 33, of West Hartford; Theodore Linger, 64, of Newington; and Joseph Sa, 33, of Taunton, Mass. Environmental Conservation officers also issued one infraction ticket and two written warnings for other boating violations.

In August Environmental Conservation officers along with Old Saybrook Police Officers arrested Kenneth D. Anderson, 24, of Glastonbury, while conducting a boating safety patrol on the Connecticut River in Old Saybrook.

Officers also issued infractions and written warnings for other boating offenses including failure to display lights while under way, insufficient personal floatation devices, operation of a vessel without registration and operating a vessel without a safe boating certificate. Patrols will continue throughout the boating season.

The arrests were the result of heightened boating safety enforcement patrols conducted by DEP’s Environmental Conservation officers, United States Coast Guard, Connecticut State Police and Old Saybrook Police Department. The patrols were focused on boating under the influence, possession of proper safety equipment and compliance with the wake zones in the lower Connecticut River.

Learning the ropes on donated boats

Through the Coast Guard Foundation’s Boat Donation Program, the Coast Guard Academy recently received Glory, a J/44. The J/44 is a good training platform because it performs well as both a racer and cruiser.

The Coast Guard Foundation is seeking boats for use in the academy’s Sail Training Programs. Racers and cruisers in good condition and generally in the 35-foot-to-45-foot range are needed.

The Coast Guard Academy uses sailing to prepare cadets for service in the United States Coast Guard. All academy cadets learn to sail and navigate aboard a variety of sailing vessels.

Over the last few years the academy has received donations of a Wauquiez Centurion 42, Swan 37, Nelson Marek 43 and the J/44.

For information about the boat donation program, or to learn how to donate a boat, call Jill Nosach at the Coast Guard Foundation at (860) 535-0786 or visit www.cgfdn.org .

Seaport receives donation

Mystic Seaport has received an anonymous $2 million gift toward the restoration of the whaleship Charles W. Morgan.

The anonymous gift was reportedly made by longtime life members of the Seaport who, with their family, have supported the museum’s work for many years.

The gift, says museum president Douglas Teeson, “enables the museum to protect and preserve one of our greatest assets, the Charles W. Morgan, for future generations. More than anything in our collection, the Morgan sets us apart.”

A National Historic Landmark and the museum’s signature vessel, the Morgan was built in 1841 in New Bedford, Mass. During her 80-year seagoing career, she made 37 voyages, all of them profitable. In 1941 the Morgan came to Mystic Seaport, where millions of visitors have walked her decks each year.

The planned restoration of the Morgan is scheduled to begin in fall 2007. The $3.5 million project will take three years to complete, and will be carried out in full view of the visiting public.

Electronic charts available for donation

The Foundation for Safe Boating and Marine Information is offering electronic NOAA charts in return for a donation to the 22-year-old New York City-based non-profit marine environmental advocacy group.

Those who make a $30 tax-deductible donation will receive the NOAA marine chart collection for the entire United States, according to the foundation. The digital charts are compatible with chart plotters and PC or Mac computers.

For a $50 donation, the group’s “Mariner’s Navigation Kit,” a collection of marine navigation reference material including “The American Practical Navigator: Bowditch,” is included with the digital charts.

A DVD or CD set is available containing the latest chart downloads from the official government authorities — a complete selection of more than 1,000 charts for every NOAA region. Also included are layered vector ENC charts.

The complete list of publications is available at www.boatingandmarineinfo.org . To order contact FSB&MI at P.O. Box 350124, Brooklyn, NY 11235, or call (800) 647-7780.