Adult charged after child’s personal watercraft hits patrol boat

BEMUS POINT — An adult is facing charges after a personal water craft being operated by a child struck a Chautauqua County Sheriff’s patrol boat.

According to deputies, on Thursday a patrol boat found a 9 year old mid-lake near Long Point on Chautauqua Lake who was unable to control a personal watercraft he was operating. The youth fell off when approached and the watercraft struck the patrol vessel. There was no damage to either the personal watercraft or the patrol boat. He was struggling to swim in an oversized personal floatation device when an adult and a 15 year old, who were both on their own personal watercrafts, approached from a great distance.

The adult was identified as Nathan D. Hill, 45, of East Otto. Deputies said neither he nor the 15 year old following him possessed boating safety certificates.

The 9-year-old’s personal watercraft was towed ashore as it began to sink. Deputies said the personal watercraft was also unregistered and had an improper registration sticker.

Hill was arrested by appearance ticket and will be arraigned in the town of Chautauqua Court for the following charges: failure to possess a boating safety certificate, two counts of allowing a subject to operate a personal watercraft without a boating safety certificate, permitting operation of an unregistered personal watercraft, and allowing a child under 12 to wear an oversized personal floatation device.

The Sheriff’s Office Navigation Division reminds citizens that they must be at least 14 and must have successfully completed a boating safety course before operating a personal watercraft. These courses are offered free by the sheriff’s office many times a year. Adults are also responsible for the actions of children under their supervision.