Stiffer BWI penalties possible in New York

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A 47-year-old man from Nassau County, N.Y., was arrested Sunday and accused of operating a 22-foot boat while intoxicated with 16 minors aboard.

Charles Miller, 47, of Manhasset, was charged with boating while intoxicated, endangering the welfare of a child and reckless operation of a vessel, according to The Suffolk Times newspaper.

The incident near the Greenport breakwater follows the far-more-publicized Independence Day capsize of a 34-foot Silverton in Oyster Bay in which three children died. Alcohol was not considered a factor in that accident.

The parents of a 7-year-old girl killed in the Oyster Bay capsize plan to join enforcement officials and safety advocates in testifying Wednesday at a state hearing on toughening boating laws, according to a report by Long Island’s Newsday.

A separate fatal boating accident, which investigators believe is alcohol-related, has New York state lawmakers proposing to make penalties for drunken boating more in line with drunken-driving laws and requiring all boaters to pass a safety course in order to prevent fatalities such as the recent tragedies on Long Island waterways, according to a report by the Long Island Press.

State Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr. (R-Merrick) announced legislation that would make boating while intoxicated a felony if a child is aboard, increase penalties for those with a blood alcohol content of 0.18 percent or higher and have drunken boating result in a driver’s license suspension. The legal limit for drunken boating is 0.08 percent, the same as drunken driving.

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