Safety Is Key While Enjoying The Water

The unrivaled waterways of the Finger Lakes Region provide incredible summer recreation opportunities and bring thousands of visitors to the area. In total, there are 11 lakes with countless activities available both on and around them. It is important to remember while enjoying these opportunities that we must be sure to do so safely. In particular, boating safety should not be taken lightly.
“The Safe Skipper’s Pledge” is a list of ten rules that every boater should follow in order to maintain a safe environment on the water. Some of the items included in the pledge are:

  • Having proper USCG (United States Coast Guard) approved life jackets, and having the proper number for every passenger;
  • Ensuring you have proper safety equipment on board, such as a fire extinguisher;
  • Understanding the rules of water navigation, including signage, and learning the rules of the specific waterway you are on;
  • Operating your vessel in an appropriate and non-reckless manner; and
  • Knowing the legalities of operating a personal watercraft.  

For any person operating a motorboat, it is strongly suggested that they take a boating safety course. Classes range in length and price. It is important to note that as of May 1, 2014, individuals born after May 1, 1996 are legally required to take an approved course in boating safety before operating any motorboat. These classes are offered by the state Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation or the U.S Coast Guard Auxiliary and help to educate the public about the rules of the water.   
Additionally, it is important to be aware of aquatic invasive species (AIS). According to the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association, AIS are non-native life forms that can be transferred from one body of water to another and disrupt the ecosystem. Properly cleaning your boat before transporting it can help cut down the transfer and negative effects of AIS.  
In New York State it is illegal to operate a motorboat while under the influence of alcohol, so please abstain from drinking while boating for your safety as well as the safety of others. I encourage residents and visitors to beat the summer heat and enjoy the wonderful and unique attractions in our region, but to do so in a manner that is safe for everyone in our wonderful community.
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

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