12-year-old boy's tragic death inspires New York boating safety bill

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Friday, January 18, 2019
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Darla Miles reports on the lawdesigned to protect young children taking boating lessons.

CENTERPORT, Long Island (WABC) -- A law designed to protect young children taking boating lessons that is already in effect in Suffolk County may be enacted across New York, thanks to a bill introduced Friday.

Ryan's Law requires a propeller guard on boats used to instruct children, and it comes after the tragic death of 12-year old Ryan Weiss in July of 2017 following an instructional lesson at the Centerport Yacht Club.

Senator Jim Gaughran joined the Weiss family their calls for immediate passage of the statewide bill designed to prevent future tragedies.

The family is determined to make sure his death wasn't in vain, and they're lauding the next step forward.

"If that boat had had a prop guard on it, there's a good chance that he could have been OK or injured," mom Kellie Weiss said. "It wouldn't have been a fatal accident."

The $120 fix may have saved Ryan's life.

"The fact that we left our 12-year-old in a very, very safe environment and he didn't come home is something that cannot happen to another family," Kellie Weiss said.

Ryan was practicing a capsizing drill at the yacht club in Northport when he was struck by the propeller on the inflatable boat.

"I am hopeful that the common-sense measure will be passed by the senate this year, and hopefully passed by the assembly and signed by the governor," Gaughran said.

Ryan's Law took effect in Suffolk County last summer, with the boating season in full swing.

The family says passing this safety measure in the name of their son would truly honor the legacy of the young sailor who loved being on the water.

"Ryan was on a boat at 7 days old," Kellie Weiss said. "As much I protect my children here with me right now, it's important to me to protect Ryan and his legacy and his memory and his feelings. And I think this is one thing that can help to do that for him."

The next boating season is just a few months away, and Gaughran and the Weiss family would like to see Ryan's Law passed before it begins.


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