Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that nine new patrol boats have been assigned to state and local police agencies to assist with marine law enforcement efforts across the state.
“From Lake George to the Long Island Sound, New York is home to some of the best recreational boating in the nation,” Governor Cuomo said. “These new patrol vessels will help keep New York's waterways safe, while improving security for all boat operators and passengers this season."
“I’m grateful to our law enforcement partners for helping promote safe recreational boating across New York,” said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “Recreational boaters can do their part by remembering that a few simple precautions taken beforehand – including wearing a life jacket and taking a boating safety class – can help ensure a trip stays fun from beginning to end.”
This year’s patrol vessels were assigned to:
- Department of Environmental Conservation Police
- New York State Park Police, Thousand Islands Region
- Lake George Park Commission
- Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department
- Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department
- Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department
- Suffolk County Marine Bureau
- Town of Huntington Harbor Master
- Town of Southampton Bay Constable
"The safety of all who enjoy New York's waters is jeopardized when vessels are operated in an irresponsible manner,” said Acting DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Boaters should be aware of all the proper safety measures and precautions to take while out on the waters. Boats, trailers and associated equipment are also common ways for spreading aquatic invasive species. Boaters are reminded that there are enforceable state regulations are in place requiring owners to clean their equipment of any clinging plant and animal materials and drain their boats prior to launching at lands administered by DEC."
The Brunswick “Justice” vessels, which range in value from $78,000 to $150,000, were made possible through the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. These police agencies will use the patrol vessels to enhance recreational boater safety and enforce the New York State Navigation Law.
Congressman Steve Israel said, “These Long Island patrol boats will enhance the safety of Long Island boaters and their families this summer. I am working to pass my bill, the Boating Occupancy and Teaching Safety Act (BOATS), to provide grants to teach boating safety to the public. Together, all levels of government and local partners can work together to ensure Long Islanders have the resources to keep their families safe on the water this summer.”
Congressman Tom Reed said, “Our region is extremely fortunate to be home to some of the best fresh water resources in the world and we care about protecting them. The lakes in our region, including Lake Erie and the Finger Lakes, are a critical component of our regional economy. It’s only right that we do our part to preserve them.”
Congressman Lee Zeldin said, “Proper boating safety is critically important to prevent loss of life and injury. A new patrol boat for Southampton Town will assist with the effort of ensuring local boaters’ safety.”
Other boating and paddling safety reminders include:
- All people are strongly encouraged to wear a personal floatation device whenever they are on the water. State law requires that children under age 12 wear a personal flotation device while on a watercraft. Also, check the weather forecast before heading out on the water to learn about potential storms and seek immediate shelter on shore if you hear thunder.
- Know your abilities and take precautions when there are high or steady winds creating large waves, or when you are in strong currents. If you are paddling in waters where there are motorboats, keep close to shorelines and out of main channels. Also, boaters and paddlers should clean, drain and dry watercraft to avoid spreading aquatic invasive species.
National Safe Boating Week is a campaign sponsored by the National Safe Boating Council to spread the message of boating safety and encourage boater education. Boaters are reminded to practice safe and responsible boating, including wearing a life jacket; completing a safe boating course; properly equipping and inspecting their vessel; maintaining a prudent speed; and refraining from mixing alcohol with boating. For more information about boating safety – including listings of boating safety courses – and marine recreation in New York State, visit www.nysparks.com/recreation/boating.
Boaters should take the following steps to ensure that their boat, trailer and equipment are free of aquatic invasive species:
- Visually inspect the boat, trailer and other fishing and boating equipment and remove all mud, plants and other organisms that might be clinging to it. Materials should be disposed of in one of the Nuisance Invasive Species Disposal Stations installed at many boat launches, in the trash or at an upland location away from the launch ramp.
- Drain the boat's bilge and any other water holding compartments such as live wells, bait wells and bilge tanks. This does not apply to water associated with sanitary systems or drinking water supplies.
- Drying boats is also highly recommended but is not required under the new regulations. Boaters who are unable to dry their boats between uses should flush the bilge and other water holding compartments with water, preferably at a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Microscopic larval forms of aquatic invasive species, such as zebra mussels and spiny waterflea, can live in as much as a drop of water. To ensure that these organisms are not accidentally spread, anything holding water should be dried, flushed or disinfected with hot water to ensure that these aquatic invasive species are not spread.
Additional information on AIS and disinfection recommendations can be found on the DEC website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/48221.html.