Rep. Bizzarro’s resolution highlights need for boating safety in Pa.

HARRISBURG, May 24 – The week of May 21 through 27, 2016 is National Safe Boating Week in the commonwealth, thanks to a resolution sponsored by state Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, and adopted by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

“Now that the weather is a bit nicer, many people will be out on Lake Erie or the surrounding waterways, enjoying the beautiful scenery,” Bizzarro said. “But no one wants a fun day outside to be ruined because of reckless behavior. That’s why throughout the week, boating groups will stress the importance of boating safety and wearing life jackets.”

Bizzarro’s H.R. 903 noted Pennsylvania requires anyone born after Jan. 1, 1982 to obtain a boating safety certificate to operate a personal watercraft or a powerboat with a motor greater than 25 horsepower. Nearly 15,000 new boating safety certificates were issued last year.

Last year, Pennsylvania had 58 reportable recreational boating accidents, a decrease of 17 percent from 2014. Though only four of these accidents resulted in fatalities, Bizzarro said more needs to be done to raise awareness about boating safety.

“I encourage anyone interested in learning more about how to stay safe out on the water to look into boating courses offered by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission,” Bizzarro said. “In addition, we must be aware of the vessels around us, travel at the appropriate speed, and be cognizant of rocks and other objects in the water that can damage a boat’s hull or motor. By taking the proper safety precautions, we can help decrease the occurrence of boating accidents.”