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Legislature Approves Bill Allowing Use Of Personal Watercraft

Originally Posted: June 30, 2011

Sag Harbor - Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (I, D, WF-Sag Harbor) rported that the State Legislature has given final passage to a bill sponsored by him and Senator LaValle which would permit the use of personal watercraft or "jet-skis" in protecting public bathing beaches. The legislation was suggested by the Hampton Lifeguard Association from the Town of East Hampton.

Under existing law, organizations protecting public beaches were required to maintain a surfboat not less than 16 feet in length when protecting public beaches. Personal watercraft were not permitted to be used as a substitute. The approved legislation will permit the use of personal watercraft.

Thiele stated, "Last year, John Ryan of the Hampton Lifeguard Association came to me to point out the antiquated provisions of the public health law and to request new legislation permitting personal watercraft to be utilized. According to Ryan, personal watercraft are faster and more able to negotiate rough surf, permitting lifeguards to better protect public beaches. In particular, it can get emergency personnel to unprotected areas where an emergency might exist. This legislation will save lives and I appreciate the efforts of the Hampton Lifeguard Association in gaining its passage."

The bill now goes to the Governor for final approval.

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