Capacity legislation proposed in wake of Silverton sinking

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U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., is introducing legislation that would require new boats up to 45 feet to display maximum capacity signs, the most recent legislative response to an accident nearly two years ago that left three children dead after a 34-foot boat carrying 27 people capsized on Long Island Sound.

The measure also would establish limits on the number of people who could safely be on a cruiser’s flybridge and fund more boater education classes.

Federal law sets capacity limits only for boats less than 20 feet and does not restrict occupancy on flybridges. The American Boat and Yacht Council sets voluntary capacity ratings for boats up to 26 feet.

The 34-foot Silverton Kandi Won sank on July 4, 2012, in Oyster Bay, N.Y., after a fireworks show and left three children dead, garnering national attention. It was later determined that overcrowding caused the boat to tip. Investigators also said the four adults and three children on the flybridge contributed to the instability of the boat.

A mother who lost her daughter in the tragedy threw her emotional support Friday behind efforts to set capacity limits for more recreational boats, according to a Newsday report.

“Her loss is going to protect people in the future,” said Lisa Gaines, speaking outside the Huntington Yacht Club — near where the ill-fated Kandi Won launched in 2012. Standing beside Gaines, Israel said he would introduce a sweeping boating safety bill.

The measure would require that all new recreational boats less than 45 feet have a specified maximum weight and a limit on the number of people allowed aboard. It also would establish limits on the number of people who could safely be on a cruiser’s flybridge.

Israel’s bill also would provide federal grants for public boating safety classes. The money would come from marine fuel taxes and fishing equipment fees.

Gaines, 47, of Huntington Station, has been pushing for tougher boating laws since the accident. She boarded the boat to catch a fireworks show with her 7-year-old daughter, Victoria, and son Ryan, who is now 14.

Mother and son survived, but Victoria and cousins David Aureliano, 12, of Kings Park, N.Y., and Harlie Treanor, 11, of Huntington Station, N.Y., were trapped in the cabin and drowned.

Israel has no Senate co-sponsor yet for his safety bill. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has been trying to get a similar measure through his chamber since the accident and told the paper he plans to reintroduce it.

The Coast Guard tells News 12 that capsizings and falls overboard because of overloaded boats account for more than half of all boating fatalities.


8 comments on “Capacity legislation proposed in wake of Silverton sinking

  1. Bryon Kass

    This problem has been around for decades. Uneven loading is the problem with stability on all recreation vessels. The other problem is the center of gravity changes with fuel use and additional of cargo. Without some kind of stability monitoring system a stabile boat can go unstable easily and quickly. More laws will only add to the confusion. Boat manufacturers need to provide systems and or labeling voluntarily as in the rules of the road plaques we sometimes see. And the question remains, what to do with older boats?

  2. tigerpilot

    Both Schumer and Israel both don’t to understand that you can’t fix stupid. The next thing to follow is the requirement for stability tests on all new boats, adding greatly to the cost of bring the latest models to market.
    Just spend the money on boater education. The person who put 27 people on a 34′ boat is Darwin’s entry into the marine field. Nothing is going to help him.

  3. Lawrence Warner

    Sad that dumb people make enough of a mess so that legislators think they have to step in and make new rules. Makes you wonder how someone can spend several hundred thousand on something that they know nothing about. Perhaps insurance companies can come up with some boat safety requirements which many now do.

  4. Rod

    Great, another poorly thought out attempt to legislate “Common Sense”! This bill will only address new boats less than 45′ loa, but what about the thousands of boats between 20′ and 45′ already out there? This wasn’t a brand new boat that capsized and she was CLEARLY overloaded, it should not take a legally imposed placard to tell that, no one in their right mind would think for even a moment that putting 27 people on a 34′ flybridge cruiser is safe, yet it was done, and even if there were a capacity plate on that boat….what the heck makes this Congressman think that someone so stupid would have obeyed the limits on hte placard??

    What happens after this law goes into effect when some other nincompoop tries to take an overloaded 47′ boat out and someone drowns…. or what about an overloaded 55′ boat?? Where does the madness end?

  5. John Palanci

    Why the politicians don’t understand you can never legislate yourself to safety, they allowed Boat US to tie the hands of USCG Auxiliary from teaching 16 weeks of safety classes for free, and now they want to introduce legislation in order to do what?, I feel bad for the families loosing loved ones but when will they accept responsibility to there own action, 27 persons in an area of 100square feet and a kid steering the boat what ware they thinking, when will people start accepting responsibility are we so narrow minded and ignorant ?, when will politicians act like one rather then become vote chasers. You want to help let USCG Auxiliary educate this is why they ware founded and formed increasing taxes will not help boating one bit.

  6. Dewey Cheetham

    Re John Palanci’s comment:

    Please help me understand your statement that “BoatU.S. tied the hands of the USCG Auxiliary from teaching 16 weeks of safety classes for free.” How is that so?

  7. Pingback: Three-Boat Crash Kills Four In Florida (Video) | PassageMaker

  8. Pingback: Three-Boat Crash Kills Four In Florida | PassageMaker

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