Scott signs boater safety bill after tragedy

Scott signs boater safety bill after tragedy

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - In an issue prompted by the disappearance last year of two young Palm Beach County boaters, Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed a bill that will provide a discount on vessel-registration fees if boaters show they have purchased and registered emergency locator devices.

The measure (HB 427) was proposed after Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, two 14-year-olds from Tequesta, went missing in July after steering a 19-foot boat out of the Jupiter Inlet into the Atlantic Ocean.

"I continue to offer my deepest condolences to the families of the teenagers who lost their lives after sailing from the Jupiter Inlet,'' Scott said in a prepared statement after signing the bill. "It is heartbreaking to consider the grief of a family losing a child. I hope these important safety measures we signed into law today will help ensure that this kind of tragedy never happens again."

The measure, sponsored by Rep. MaryLynn Magar, R-Tequesta, and incoming Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, will provide fee discounts during the upcoming fiscal year for people who have or buy emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) devices.

A similar bill was introduced in Washington earlier this month by U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy and Tom Rooney.

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