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Crash Victim's Widow Calls for Stronger Boating Safety Laws

Michelle Mannino joined State senator Charles Fuschillo at a press conference announcing plans to introduce legislation that would raise penalties for boating under the influence.

Michelle Mannino’s life was forever changed when her husband Christopher was in a boating under the influence (BUI) accident in the Great South Bay on June 23.

On Thursday morning, the West Islip woman appeared side by side with lawmakers at a press conference in Wantagh calling for stronger BUI and boater safety laws to prevent similar tragedies from occurring.

“It’s long past time to strengthen the BUI laws,” said Mannino during Thursday’s press conference hosted by State Sen. Charles Fuschillo, R-Merrick at the Marina. “With the rise in boating injuries and recent boating fatalities involving alcohol, we’re seeing tragedies repeat themselves and it has to stop.”

Senator Fuschillo said Thursday he will be introducing new boating safety legislation that would raise BUI penalties and require safety training for anyone who operates a boat. Fuschillo emphasized that while New York State has some of the nation’s toughest laws for driving while intoxicated offenses, BWI laws have not kept pace.

“Boats operated by intoxicated individuals are as dangerous a weapon as cars driven by drunk drivers,” said Fuschillo, who is Chairman of the State Senate’s Transportation Committee. “Stronger BUI laws will make people think twice before operating a boat under the influence, help remove intoxicated boat operators from the waterways, and ensure that they face tougher penalties for endangering the lives  of others.”

Fuschillo said the legislation he will be introducing in Albany would:

  • Allow intoxicated boaters to face Class E felony charges if they had a child on the boat, just as they would if they were driving a car.
  • Create the charge of aggravated BUI for boaters with a blood alcohol level of .18 or higher, just as currently exists for driving under the influence offenses.
  • Create mandatory boating privilege suspensions for BUI offenders
  • Require s mandatory driver license suspension for BUI offenders
  • Ensure that DUI, BUI and snowmobiling under the influence (SUI) offenses are linked together when determining whether an individual is a repeat alcohol offender.

Other lawmakers who joined Fuschillo in calling for the tougher boating safety laws Thursday were State Assemblyman David McDonough, R-North Merrick, and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano.

Leslie A. Zimmerly July 20, 2012 at 02:16 PM
If you drive a boat, car, jet ski, etc and kill someone, you should go to jail, period.
B Real July 20, 2012 at 03:15 PM
I agree !!! There should be no exception
Halford July 20, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Leslie, don't you think that your comment should have stated "if found to be DWI or BWI" Car ACCIDENTS that are fatal happen often, and often withOUT drugs or alcohol- that's why they are called ACCIDENTS. Sending everyone involved to jail seems extreme....as for being intoxicated or high, penalties SHOULD be higher.....
Phil E. July 20, 2012 at 03:49 PM
An 'OK Not to Drink" picnic, simimiliar to the one that drew over 2,000 residents in Glen Cove is being planned. The first meeting is being held Thurs. Aug 2nd.. If anhyone is interested please contact me at 631-664-3151 or phile123@aol.com in coming. Thanks, Phile Enright - acting co-chair.

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