N.Y. Law Sets PWC Age Limit

Governor George Pataki signed into law a bill that raises the minimum age for operating PWC in New York from 10 to 14 years old.
New York is one of only three states that allowed 10-year-olds to operate personal watercraft alone. The new minimum age rule, Signed July 28, is effective beginning Jan. 1, 2006.
While the Personal Watercraft Industry Association (PWIA), the trade association representing PWC manufacturers in the U.S., advocates a minimum age of 16 to operate PWC, the group supported the measure passed by the Legislature earlier this year.
Pataki, speaking at the signing at Heckscher State Park in East Islip, N.Y., characterized the bill as a compromise and said he wished the minimum age had been changed to 16. All riders age 14 to 18 will still have to complete eight hours of safety training to receive a boating safety certificate required to operate the units.
“We applaud the New York Legislature and the Governor for approving this proposal,” said Maureen Healey, executive director of the Personal Watercraft Industry Association (PWIA). “By signing this legislation into law, Governor Pataki has taken a bold step to help ensure capable and mature boaters are at the helm on New York waterways. Personal watercraft are a lot of fun to operate but they should be approached with the same respect and level of knowledge as other boats. The personal watercraft industry thanks Senator Skelos and Assemblywoman Eddington for putting boating safety first and introducing this proposal to require that PWC operators have reached a certain level of maturity.”
The PWIA advocates for states to adopt its model legislation for regulating PWC use. The organziation’s model legislation is viewable at www.pwia.org.

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