Emily’s Law

May 8, 2015

Emily’s Bill Passes Senate, Heads to House

Frantz: This is about minimizing the risk of tragedy on the water and protecting our children

Hartford, CT – State Senator Scott Frantz (R-Greenwich) joined members of the state senate and Greenwich delegation in supporting the passage of Senate Bill 699 today, Emily’s Bill, which seeks to minimize the possibility of another tragedy on the water similar to the one that cost Emily Fedorko her life on August 6, 2014.

Emily Fedorko left the dock on a beautiful summer day last August to enjoy a few hours of boating and tubing on Long Island Sound with three of her great friends. In a flash of cruel irony, two of the teens who were tubing were struck by the propeller of the operating outboard engine. Emily suffered fatal injuries. The other teen suffered a non-life threatening but traumatic injury by the same propeller.

Emily’s father, Joseph Fedorko testified earlier this year before the Environment Committee, “As a result of inexperience our precious daughter lost her life. We allow our kids to get driver’s license at sixteen with many restrictions, why wouldn’t we want to have the same age restrictions on boating safety?”

Currently, a 13 year old with a Safe Boating Certificate is able to take a twin 350 horsepower engine boat out and tow water skiers and tubers. Emily’s bill calls for an additional educational component to the Safe Boating Curriculum that includes a very meaningful and effective section on towing, meaning any sort of activity that takes place behind a fast moving vessel involving an inflatable tube, water skis, wake board, surfboard and the like.

The risk given the general lack of on-the-water experience for this age group is large. With Emily’s Bill, there would be a requirement of a minimum age of 16 with a towing endorsement in order to legally tow. The proposed bill was vetted with the industry, DEEP, boaters, the US Power Squadron, professionals in the business, Marine Police and, importantly, the family.

The Fedorko Family has launched a foundation, the Emily Catherine Fedorko Foundation, to promote towing safety throughout the entire country. The family has visited boat shows to distribute information, tell their story and hand out stickers to be placed near throttles and ignition switches to “Turn It Off for Emily” when approaching those in the water.

“We want to protect others from the pain we feel each day,” added Joseph Fedorko.

To learn more about the Emily Catherine Fedorko Foundation please visit http://www.emsway.org/ the bill now heads the floor of the House.