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Father of Girl Lost in Sinking Demands New Laws

Paul Gaines says boating safety regulations must change.

The father of Victoria Gaines, the 7-year old Huntington girl who died in the Independence Day sinking of the Kandi Won, says new boating regulations must emerge from the tragedy on Oyster Bay.

Paul Gaines, Victoria's father, issued a statement Friday in the aftermath of the Nassau District Attorney's decision not to file criminal charges in the case. The prosecutor's office said a detailed report on the incident will follow.

In the statement, issued through a public relations firm, the Huntington resident said, "We will examine the findings and determine our next course of action.

"No matter what the report says, it is clear that boating safety laws, rules and regulations need to be examined and some changed," Gaines said. "We have already worked with federal and state elected officials to draft legislation and create proposals regarding boating safety, including requiring safety classes and policies relating to safety at large scale events."

Victoria died along with two other children: Harlie Treanor and David Aureliano, who were aboard the Kandi Won when it capsized and sank off Oyster Bay on July 4. The 34-foot Silverton cruiser had 27 people on board, including 10 children, when it capsized and sank in the dark following a fireworks display.

District Attorney Kathleen Rice's office said Thursday there is insufficient evidence to mount a criminal prosecution in the case.

The Gaines family has proposed legislation including "Victoria’s Law," which would address boating safety concerns at the state level.

Gaines said family members are working to construct a garden in Huntington which will be an "everlasting tribute to Victoria."

"My daughter, Victoria, was a wonderful little girl who loved the outdoors and the gifts of nature," Gaines said in the statement. "We will treasure our memories of her and will focus on them today. Moving forward it will be our goal to make sure that other families do not suffer the pain that we have had to endure."

The boating and safety legislative initiatives can be seen here.  

Valerie January 19, 2013 at 01:15 PM
You can't legislate common sense.
Scott MacDonald January 19, 2013 at 01:16 PM
Such a tragedy. People learn what they are doing out there. I'm a licensed Ship's Master. This took a lot of hard work to attain. There are other ways however, like Coast Guard safety courses. People buy boats like this and don't have proper training. I feel badly for these parents, including the poor man piloting this boat. Training. Certificates. This will save lives. Boats were everywhere. It's dark and crowded. People are drinking (I'm not suggesting this was the case on THIS boat, but I assure you on the 4th, plenty out there were doing so). I know this, because I've been boating this harbor, as a licensed Captain for 20 years. That night from what I understand, that boat was full of people, and likely had more on board than it was rated for. If this is the case, it likely capsized due to a raised center of buoyancy and lack of maneuverability. BTW, one of these kids was a friend of one of my children. What needs to change is people should not be piloting boats when they don't know about these issues, as when they do this, they are literally putting the lives of people at risk. No shades of grey here folks. If this means that a certificate of some kind is required to be a boat owner, so be it. We are required to have a license for a car, aren't we? I've been involved in two rescues in LI waters. In both cases, people had no clue what they had done wrong, and were lucky that everyone was OK. My thoughts are, and have been with these families.
Janet B. January 19, 2013 at 02:31 PM
Thank you, Scott. A very kind, compassionate, and reasonable response. These families are in our community and we are all connected to them in some way; we need to choose our words carefully when posting. No on should inflict any more harm on them--their suffering is immeasurable.
Scott MacDonald January 19, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Thank YOU Janet. I would encourage others who may comment here, please remember...we're at a keyboard, not the real world. We are not face to face with another person. It is very easy to speak one's mind and be too harsh. None of us know all the details. NOBODY expects things to go wrong, and the people running this boat did not either. They were happy, with friends and loved ones, and had no idea of what was to come. As a parent, I can assure you these kids were not intentionally put in harm's way. It is up to us to weigh and balance things, and to come up with what is best. Blaming a parent who has lost a child is nothing short of insidious. My feeling is that a safe boating course should be required. Many folks don't understand channel markers, red nuns and green cans, right-of-way, how to pass, etc... It makes sense, just like learning the rules for driving a car. If mistakes were made here, it is the mistake of people being able to buy large boats who don't have proper and advanced training...not the boater. The system gives a false impression of security. Now if an owner KNOWS the rules and limits for the boat and ignores them, that's another story entirely.
Jason Molinet January 19, 2013 at 03:41 PM
Excellent points.

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