Boating-safety bill clears both houses

Boating-safety legislation requested by a Carson City woman after her husband drowned has now been approved by both houses of the Legislature.

AB112 will require boats have life preservers that can be thrown to people in the water if they are in trouble. It requires at least one of the Coast Guard-approved devices on a small boat and at least two on larger craft.

The measure passed the Senate unanimously as it did the Assembly. It must go back to the Assembly for concurrence on an amendment included by the Senate.

Sen. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, who sponsored the measure along with Assemblywoman Bonnie Parnell, D-Carson City, said there would be no problem getting that approval and sending the measure to the governor.

He said the amendment simply makes the language in the legislation clearer.

"We just gave it a tuneup," he said.

DeeDee Petrilena asked legislators to act, saying a life preserver with a throwing line attached could have saved her husband, Vince.

He was swimming near their rented boat on Lake Mead last May when a breeze began to blow the boat away. He tried but was unable to catch the boat.

"When he looked up I could see the panic in his face and I realized he was in trouble," she said during hearings on the bill.

Another person on board threw a life jacket but the wind blew it away.

She said there was no flotation device on the boat she could throw to him and, by the time she could turn the boat around, he was in serious trouble. A friend jumped in and swam toward him, but her husband disappeared beneath the water before she could get there. Vince Petrilena's body has never been found.

AB112 would require throwable preservers with lines attached to help retrieve them and swimmers who are in trouble.

n Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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