Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

August 01, 2013

Randy Simons
Dan Keefe
(518) 486-1868

Swim Safe this Summer – Think P.A.R.K.S.

Parks Encourages Visitors to Follow Five Simple Safe Swimming Rules

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation wishes to remind all visitors to always follow and practice swim safety while enjoying the great outdoors.

"Nowhere is the beauty of our state parks more magnificent than in the hundreds of lakes, streams, ponds and rivers that canvass our natural surroundings," said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. "While these areas can be awe-inspiring, they can also leave people in a precarious position, which is why we remind all visitors to adhere to the park rules."

State Parks is home to 350,000 acres, more than 2000 miles of hiking trails and thousands of campsites nestled near many lakes, streams, rivers and ponds which are to be safely enjoyed. While these areas can typically be enjoyed through picnicking, fishing, and relaxing with a wonderful view, swimming can be dangerous at many of these locations.

For this reason Parks staff asks all of its visitors to swim safe this year and think P.A.R.K.S. to help do so.


  • No Swimming signs or lack of lifeguard presence indicates that swimming is prohibited in that area.


  • Prohibited swim areas are often accompanied by dangers such as turbulent underwater currents, extreme cold and changing temperatures that could cause health problems, and widely varying depths. These hazards can put even good swimmers at risk.


  • Reporting someone who is swimming in a prohibited area may just save their life.


  • Jagged rocks, slippery surfaces, murky surroundings and other hazards could turn an enjoyable day into a sudden emergency.


  • New York State Parks is home to 100+ developed beaches, swimming pools and spraygrounds. 20 million people swim at state parks every season to cool down as summer temperatures rise.
  • New York State employs 1,000 lifeguards to keep watch over its safe swim areas. In 2012 Parks conducted more than 4,000 water rescues across the state in these areas.
  • Since it can impair judgment, please limit alcohol consumption when enjoying the outdoors, especially near bodies of water. Also, review State Parks' regulations, as they prohibit consumption of alcohol in certain areas.

In an effort to further promote swim safety, State Parks continues to provide resources that have allowed more than 10,000 children to learn swimming skills in some capacity this year alone. Group camps have been a large supporter of teaching kids to swim, while the successful and free "Learn to Swim" program branched out and is currently expected to expand into other parks across the state next year.

Visitors are also encouraged to follow State Parks on Facebook and Twitter for regular water and swim safety tips and information as well as on the web at

While Parks allows its visitors to Escape, Explore and Experience - P.A.R.K.S. can also allow all to swim safe in 2013!

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation maintains and operates 179 state parks and 35 historic sites. For more information on swim safety, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.