Suffolk County Legislature Amends Local Law to That Would Regulate On-Demand Water Taxis


The office of Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski (Democrat, County District 1) announced the passage IR 1551-2022, a bill he sponsored to amend a local law that licenses commercial watercraft, that includes those that transport passengers. The goal of said amendment, which was unanimously adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature, is intended to protect Suffolk County’s bays from an increase in the number of on-demand water taxis and limos in recent years, that operate both along the coastline as well as cross-bay, which according to the statement released by the County District 1 statement, which asserts that components of their operation have largely gone unregulated.

Legislator Krupski’s office states that on-demand watercraft have not been required to have fixed hours of operation or specific landing sites.  The new amendment would addresses this point and require operators to submit dates and hours of operation with their license application.  Additionally, landing agreements must be in place with owners whose property will be used as pick up or drop off sites. The bill also defines the maximum number of passengers water taxis and limos can transport at one time and allows for local law enforcement.

“The increase of on-demand service operators is a relatively new phenomenon, and one we didn’t find necessary to address until my office started receiving complaints about safety concerns from residents,” said Legislator Krupski. “With no fixed routes, I felt it was very important for the county to know when and where these vessels would be operating and establish safety requirements to protect passengers.”

The proposed law would also give Suffolk County oversight in the eventuality of barges being anchored in waters for aircraft landing – an operation that would require ferrying passengers to shore.

“Our bays are heavily used now, and any increased commercial operations will inherently create conflicts and could negatively impact quality of life for other users of our bays and the greater community. We also must be incredibly careful not to add more uses that will compromise water quality and our environment.”

IR 1551-2022 would go into effect once signed by the Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and filed with the New York Secretary of State.