Featured Letter: Boating safety courses are imperative

(Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)
The National Boat Safety Week started May 17. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

To the editor: 

I am writing in response to your editorial from last week, entitled “When out on the water, expect the unexpected.”

As you note, the 2014 boating season has gotten off to a bad start. There have been two boating accidents, in which one boat operator is confirmed to have died and the other is still missing and presumed dead.

As New York State’s longest-serving boating instructor, with over 50 years’ experience, I can say it is most important that anyone who plans to operate a boat on the water take a boating course. Your editorial makes the point that if you don’t respect the water, the water will not respect you. On Sept. 23, 2013, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law that any youngster who plans to operate a boat alone on New York State waters, born on or after May 1, 1996, between the ages of 10 and 17, must take a boating course, and anyone age 14 and older who plans to operate a jet ski must also take a boating course.

These classes are offered by both the Peconic Bay Power Squadron and Flotilla 18-8 United States Coast Guard Auxiliary.

In closing, as a member of both of these organizations, I have been involved in boating education with both of them. To find out when and where these courses are given, look for their announcement in the Riverhead News-Review.

Leonard Llewellyn, Mattituck