Boating Safety Is For Life

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Boat Building News

The following is a news release from Senator Charles Schumer (D) New York;  It relates to the horrendous accident which took place in New York when a 34 foot boat with 27 people on board capsized on the 4th of July and 3 children were killed.  He is demanding that the US Coast Guard establish regulations for passenger capacity for recreational vessel 20 feet and up.  The current regulations only apply to monohull boats under 20 feet in length, and except canoes kayaks, inflatables, sailboats and multihulls.  What do you think.  This could not only affect boat manufacturers but boat owners, state ad local law enforcement, and insurance companies.
http://www.schumer.senate.gov/Newsroom/record.cfm?id=337248


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 15, 2012

SCHUMER, FAMILY OF LONG ISLAND BOATING VICTIM VICTORIA GAINES, CALL ON U.S. COAST GUARD TO REQUIRE CAPACITY LIMITS ON BOATS OVER 20FT IN LENGTH AND REQUIRE THOSE LIMITS BE VISIBLY POSTED ONBOARD 

U.S. Coast Guard Only Requires Capacity Limits to Be Posted on Recreational Vessels Under 20 Feet; Urges Same Rule for Larger Vessels

Investigation Still Underway As To Whether Capsized Vessel Was Capable of Handling 27 Passengers, But Posting Capacity Limits on Boats a Step in the Right Direction that Would Erase All Doubt in the Future

Schumer: It Doesn’t Make Sense That We Require Capacity Limits be Posted for Everything from Ballrooms to Classrooms, But Not Recreational Vessels Over 20 Feet

United States Senator Charles E. Schumer, joined by the parents of Long Island boating victim, Victoria Gaines, called on the United States Coast Guard to require capacity limits for recreational boats over 20 feet in length and require that those limits be visibly posted onboard to educate and warn operators and their passengers of the vessels’ total passenger capabilities and weight load. In a letter to Commandant Papp of the U.S. Coast Guard, Schumer urged for the same requirements for recreational vessels smaller than 20 feet be applied to recreational vessels larger than 20 feet and for those capacity limits to be visibly displayed to anyone boarding the boat. Schumer’s request comes after the tragic loss of three children, including 7-year old Victoria Gaines, when a 34ft Silverton boat carrying 27 passengers capsized in Cove Neck immediately following a July 4th fireworks show. While an investigation examining the reasons for the vessel’s capsizing is still underway, there have been numerous questions raised about overall capacity capabilities for such vessels.

“In the memory of the children we lost on that awful day, we can take some simple steps to educate and warn boat owners and their passengers how many people a vessel can safely handle,” said Schumer. “It doesn’t make much sense that we require capacity limits be posted for most everything from ballrooms to classrooms, and boats under 20 feet in size, but not recreational vessels over 20 feet.”

In his letter to the U.S. Coast Guard, Schumer noted that the vessel that capsized last week was thirty-four feet long and did not require a U.S. Coast Guard Capacity Information plaque onboard. Schumer argued that such a visibly displayed plaque can help dissuade boat owners, or passengers, from overcrowding a vessel, serving to prevent future tragedies from occurring. Schumer pointed out that the Coast Guard has the clear regulatory authority, and responsibility, to promulgate regulations for the promotion of safety of life as expressed in Title 14 section 2 of the U.S. Code. Schumer called on the Coast Guard to also require that those limits be posted visibly next to the steering console or the stern of boat, and in full view of boarding passengers. 

“While we explore what exactly went wrong during this trip, it is vital we do everything possible to ensure that no family ever has to experience the grief that we are currently going through,” said Paul Gaines. “Posting capacity limits on boats over 20 feet would be a huge step forward and we appreciate the senator’s work and plan to continue working with him to put every possible safety measure in place to protect passengers in the future.”

“It’s my hope that the posting of capacity information will better inform passengers and operators of the capabilities of the vessels they are boarding and operating so that no parent or family member ever has to experience the kind of horrific tragedy we saw last week,” Schumer continued.

A copy of Schumer’s letter to the U.S. Coast Guard can be found below.

Dear Commandant Papp,

I am writing in regard to a recent Long Island tragedy that occurred on July 4th. After a large fireworks show in Cove Neck, a recreational boat capsized and sank. Sadly, three young children were killed. There were twenty-seven passengers aboard that boat and the boat was designed to hold far fewer. I strongly urge the United States Coast Guard to implement regulations that would require all recreational vessels to establish capacity requirements and to require posting of the requirements on the vessels in a highly visible location for all passengers to see.

As you are aware, the United States Coast Guard regulates the capacity requirements on recreational vessels twenty feet or smaller in length. The boat that capsized was thirty-four feet long, therefore a U.S. Coast Guard Capacity Information plaque was not onboard. This lack of oversight quite possibly could have prevented this tragedy from occurring. In the memory of the three children who lost their lives that day, Victoria Gaines, David Aureliano and Harlie Treanor, it is of the utmost importance for capacity limits to be established for all recreational vessels.

Currently, the United States Coast Guard requires that recreational boats smaller than twenty feet long post capacity information next to the steering console or stern of boat. The Coast Guard has the clear regulatory authority and responsibility to promulgate regulations for the promotion of safety of life as expressed in Title 14 section 2 of the U.S. Code. In the wake of this tragedy it is imperative that the United States Coast Guard require all recreational boats to post capacity information in a highly visible location for all passengers to see. This will provide passengers, who are not familiar with boating capacity and safety measures, the option to choose whether or not they feel safe boarding the boat.

It is quite clear that the United States Coast Guard must implement these two regulations in order to prevent a tragedy, such as the one in Long Island on July 4th, from occurring. In memory of Victoria Gaines, David Aureliano and Harlie Treanor, I hope that you will understand the importance of these regulations.

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