Senator Gaughran Introduces Bill to Require Propeller Guards on Boats Used to Instruct Children

The legislation comes after the tragic death of 12-year old Ryan Weiss in July of 2017.

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(L to R): Barbara Hanna from Assemblyman Raia’s office, Mrs. Weiss, Mrs. Hendrickson, Senator Jim Gaughran, Kellie Weiss (mother), Kevin Weiss (father).

Photo by: Office of Senator Jim Gaughran

Huntington, NY - January 18, 2019 - Today, Senator Jim Gaughran announced his introduction of legislation, S.355, to require a propeller guard on boats used to instruct children. The legislation comes after the tragic death of 12-year old Ryan Weiss in July of 2017 following an instructional lesson at the Centerport Yacht Club. Gaughran joined the Weiss family and the Greater Huntington Council of Yacht & Boating Club in their calls for immediate passage of this statewide bill designed to prevent future tragedies. Assemblyman Andrew Raia sponsors the bill in the State Assembly.
“In 2017 we lost a precious soul during a boating accident,” said Senator Jim Gaughran. “Today we are introducing a common sense boating safety bill to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again and I am calling on the State Legislature to promptly pass this bill.”
“In the face of great tragedy my family and I have chosen to honor Ryan’s legacy by ensuring that New York State protects all children boating going forward,” said Kellie Weiss, mother of the late Ryan Weiss. “I am asking the State Legislature to promptly pass this bill because the simple use of a prop protector could have possibly prevented Ryan’s death. Nothing will change the outcome for us, but hopefully no other family will have to go through this.”
“I am pleased to announce the reintroduction of this crucial legislation, known as “Ryan’s Law,” said Assemblyman Andrew Raia. “Boating is a wonderful activity that many residents in our district take part in, but in light of recent tragedies, I believe that this law will provide an additional level of safety for our children while respecting the freedom of boaters at large. I was proud to have introduced this bill in the state Assembly back in 2017 to bipartisan support, and I commend Senator Gaughran for introducing companion legislation in the state Senate. I call on our colleagues in Albany to join our efforts in advancing this legislation and am hopeful that it will be enacted into law in time for the upcoming boating season.”
“Protecting our young people on our waters is critical,” Assemblyman Steve Stern said.  “As the author of the ‘Suffolk’s Safer Waterways Act,’ and as a co-sponsor of ‘Brianna’s Law’ in the Assembly, I am proud to join Senator James Gaughran and Assemblyman Andrew Raia to require propeller guards on instructional vessels for boaters under 18 years of age.  A day out on the water should be a pleasure, not one that ends in tragedy.”
“I am so pleased that Senator James Gaughran has taken Suffolk County’s initiative and has broadened Ryan’s Law to ensure the safety of our youth in instructional boating settings throughout New York State,” stated the lead sponsor of Suffolk County Ryan’s Law, Legislator William R. Spencer. “The devastating loss of Ryan and the strength and resiliency of the Weiss family continues to motivate us.”
“New York State has miles of waterfront and our children are many,” said Jon Ten Haagen of the Greater Huntington Council of Yacht & Boating Club. “They both need our protection, guidance and education.”
Senator Gaughran’s legislation expands a similar bill passed in Suffolk County last year to require a propeller guard on boats used to instruct children. Gaughran’s bill would require all vessels which have a propeller and are used to instruct children under the age of 18 to have a propeller guard installed around the vessel propeller. Assemblyman Andrew Raia sponsors the legislation in the State Assembly.