Senator: Simplify boat inspections on Hudson River

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U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., recently announced his push to improve coordination between the Coast Guard and state and federal agencies that have overlapping jurisdiction on the Hudson River.

After media reports this summer that documented a lack of coordination among agencies that can result in the same boat being stopped multiple times a day, Schumer is pressing the Coast Guard to take a lead role in improving coordination among patrolling agencies.

“Rather than screen one boat six times, we should screen six boats one time. By streamlining our inspection process we can provide a better experience for recreational boats and free up security resources to protect nuclear power plants and bridges and ensure that the river is safe,” Schumer said in a statement. “Responsible recreational boaters should be free to enjoy the Hudson River without being stopped over and over again. We need the Coast Guard to take the lead and work with state and local authorities to come up with a system that protects our security without choking off all the fun of boating on the river. It’s not just a matter of summertime fun, but of protecting an industry that is critical to the Hudson Valley economy.”

Schumer was joined in last week’s announcement by area boating officials, business owners and boating enthusiasts.

“The quality-of-life issues surrounding boating are important to me as a business owner and recreational boater, and I applaud Sen. Schumer for calling for action. Boating isn’t only fun, its jobs, business and investment in our communities,” Mahopac Marina owner Charlie Melchner said in a statement.

“By people using their boats in the Hudson Valley lakes and rivers, it keeps people employed, keeps products flowing to customers and increases the demand for services from hundreds of small businesses throughout the region,” he added. “Ensuring customers and their families enjoy their time on our waters and experience a hassle-free day of boating means repeat tourists and customers spending more time and more money in the Hudson Valley. This all leads to more jobs and economic development in the many towns enjoying water access, and every single customer is important in these trying economic times.”

Boating advocates proposed expanding an existing inspection system to reduce the number of stoppages of Hudson Valley boaters. The Coast Guard Auxillary unit offers annual inspections that determine the basic safety of boats. If a boat is deemed safe to use, based on the security of the hull, a sufficient number of life guards and other inspection points, the boat receives a sticker for that year in the way that a car that has been inspected receives its annual sticker.

However, not all of the nearly two dozen agencies with jurisdiction over the Hudson choose to recognize that sticker as evidence that the boat is safe.

If entities with authority over the Hudson River, including state agencies and local sheriffs’ departments, recognize the stickers, it could significantly reduce the number of unnecessary stoppages. Law enforcement personnel would be permitted to stop boats that don’t have inspection stickers or boats (with stickers) that were behaving dangerously, but the stickers could serve as a signal that a boat is structurally safe, according to Schumer.

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Comments

4 comments on “Senator: Simplify boat inspections on Hudson River

  1. Captain Bob Armstrong

    In this era of huge deficits in nearly every size and type of government from local communities on up to the federal level, I hope someone will see the principal inherent wrong, which is clearly stated in the first sentence of that last paragraph: it is in the worrd “entities.” We don’t really need multiple agencies patroling any body of water; it would be far more cost-effective (and more amenable to the boating public) to have one properly funded and efficient orgaization doing all the work properly. Of course, the problem is, no matter how ineffective and under-funded it may be, not a one of these multiple agencies would wilingly give up its “turf.” And thus we have multiple agencies all involved in providing just enough “authority” to be irritating, while, even in aggregate, they really aren’t making us any safer. It’s all smoke and mirrors at taxpayer expense. But, ’twas ever thus. And even with a push from Senator Schumer to change things on the Hudson River, I have a hunch the situation will remain status quo, there and elsewhere.

  2. Doug Reimel

    Isn’t it about time this problem is addressed. Here on the Detroit River and Lake Erie a boater can get frustrated with the official stops. Here is the list as of today; U.S. Coast Guard, Canadian Coast Guard, U.S. Boarder Protection, U.S. Boarder Patrol, U.S. Homeland Security & Boarder Protecion, Michigan DNR, Wayne County Sheriff, Metro Park Police, Grosse Isle Police, Michigan State Police, Detroit Police, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Ontario Provicial Police, Canadian Fisheries and Wildlife. This list just seems a little short so I must have forgotten someone. And yes this is all on camera for video surveylance and by drones.

    It is only fun for someone who wants to practice their legal eaze.

  3. zyxw

    “Of course, the problem is, no matter how ineffective and under-funded it may be, not a one of these multiple agencies would wilingly give up its “turf.””

    This is the problem. All of these entities have boats and personnel they have to use as much as possible to justify their existence at taxpayer expense. Frankly, we all know that most of the time there is very little in the way of actual crime going on out on the water, so the only thing to do is safety checks. Just imagine the outcry if every weekend motorists were subjected to such random stops and checks for no apparent reason! Sure, stop and check boats that are obviously being operated illegally, but leave the average law-abiding boater alone.

  4. Capt Doggie

    I wonder which one of Sen. Schumer’s big time donors had his Sunday cruise serially interrupted by these overlapping “entities”. Very out of character for him to want to rein in government intrusion at any level. Leave it to bureaucrats and lawmakers to turn an enjoyable pastime into a pain in the a$$, and an expensive one at that. As one person already remarked. It has very little to do with safety and everything to do with “revenue enhancement” and flexing of muscle.

    My guess is that the Senator is just blowing his horn to get a constituent off his back and getting more face time in front of the camera, which is his specialty. It’s all theatre, smoke and mirrors.

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