Gov. Chris Christie aims to increase boat safety in New Jersey by signing legislation into law that strengthens penalties for boating-related accidents. 

(Mark Davis, Getty Images)

On Thursday, Christie signed legislation promoting safe boating practices in New Jersey's waterways and inland lakes. The legislation increases penalties for any persons leaving the scene of a boating accident, or for neglecting to assist anyone injured in a boating-related accident.

The new law will raise penalties if an incident results in death, and will be punishable by imprisonment of up to 10 years, up to $150,000 in fines, or both.

"Boating is about enjoying the summer and relaxing with your family and friends, but it also comes with a responsibility to the people you're with and others on the water to be vigilant, responsible, and safe, and to help stop accidents from happening to begin with," said Christie in an emailed press release on July 3. "This law will serve as another reminder to implement necessary practices to ensure the safety of everyone on the water."

Bonnie Post, an advocate of the bill, joined Christie at the signing in Point Pleasant. Her late husband was involved in a boating related hit-and-run incident.

Chris Christie in Point Pleasant on July 3, 2014 (Tim Larsen, Governor's Office)

In an emailed press release State Sen. Donald Norcross (D-Audubon) said, "Bad drivers should be treated equally, whether they're on land or on water. This law makes sure that an offender who leaves the scene of any accident is held accountable for his or her actions."

Last year, New Jersey saw an increase in boat related accidents.  This year alone there have been 36 accidents, one resulting in death.