Our City Council Waterfronts Testimony on Boating Safety in NYC

 A cruise ship leaves the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook, close to the Valentino Park beach where kayaks come and go, an example of the huge difference in scale of boats in close proximity on NYC waterways.

A cruise ship leaves the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook, close to the Valentino Park beach where kayaks come and go, an example of the huge difference in scale of boats in close proximity on NYC waterways.

On December 5, 2016, the NY City Council committee on Waterfronts held a hearing on "Improving Boater Safety in the City's Waterways." 

Our testimony is here.

With our testimony, we attached a report from the Chicago Harbor Safety Committee on safety in that city's waterways, which you can get separately here.

The committee's link for the hearing is here. It provides a briefing paper, agenda, minutes, some of the testimony (but not ours!) and a video of the hearing which you can see here

One excerpt from our testimony:

"We understand that a catalyst for this hearing was the incident in the Hudson between a NY Waterways ferry and a kayak tour on August 30, 2016.  As the Coast Guard report for that incident is not yet complete, we will refrain from making any absolute conclusions about that incident save to say this was an accident waiting to happen.

We strongly state that PortSide supports increased use of the waterways by boats of all types – advocating that is essential to our mission - and that we support recreational boating and wish to run such programs ourselves. 

However, we see the risks rising from the combination of recreational and commercial boats – given certain physical characteristics of this harbor with its strong currents and harbor traffic –  and the specific practices of some players in this harbor.  

We are concerned that current regulations are inadequate."

In short, with some regret, we suggest it may be time for new rules.