After losing their daughter in a tragic tubing accident last year, the Fedorko family is using her story in a push to educate and change boating safety laws.
On Friday afternoon, Gov. Dannel Malloy signed Emily’s Law into effect.
Emily Fedorko would have been a senior at Greenwich High School this year.
She was just 16 years old, enjoying the day on the water last August, tubing with friends when tragedy struck...and while she's gone, her family wanted to bringing something positive out of this and feel Emily's Law will be her legacy.
"When she was in the room, you knew she was in the room, very bubbly, a word a lot of people liked to use beautiful smile,” said Emily’s mom Pam Fedorko.
After the law was signed, it is now illegal for anyone under the age of 16 to operate a boat while towing a water skier or a tuber.
Before the law, the operator could be as young as 13.
“It really was something simple that could have been prevented,” said Emily’s father Joe Fedorko.
Emily and three friends were out on Long Island Sound last summer. She and a friend fell off their tubes, but when the boat swung back around to pick them up, they were both hit by the propeller of the motor.
Just two days after the accident, the Fedorkos created a foundation in their daughter’s name, aimed at increasing education when it comes to water safety.
"I have to believe that Emily is somewhere smiling that her parents have such great strength and they cared so much for her and her memory that they would devote their own tragedy, time to make good things happen,” Malloy said.
The Emily Catherine Fedorko Foundation created a bright orange flag for boats to use when pulling someone.
That way, other boaters will know people are in the water.
In addition to the age requirement, boaters will also be required to complete a course on safe towing, before getting their boating certificate.
"We knew that the biggest thing for us was to honor Emily. By honoring her, take that loving and caring spirit of hers, translate that to what we can do for others,” Joe Fedorko said.
Emily’s Law goes into effect on Oct. 1. For more information on the Emily Catherine Fedorko Foundation, click here.
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