Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

August 13, 2013

Randy Simons
Dan Keefe
(518) 486-1868

Recreational Boating Life Saving Awards Presented to Good Samaritan

Round Island resident receives awards for June rescue

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation's Marine Services Bureau, Thousand Island Region and State Park Police announce the presentation of the National Associations of State Boating Law Administrators' Award of Commendation and State Parks' Recreational Boating Life Saving Award to Sarah E. Gillette of Round Island, N.Y. on Tuesday, August 13.

The awards were presented at Keewaydin State Park in Alexandria Bay in recognition of a rescue Mrs. Gillette, 65, made on June 2nd of this year.

Mrs. Gillette, a summer resident of Round Island and life-long boater, was on the phone when she heard a man yelling for help. While her husband, Paul, and a neighbor headed out in one boat, Mrs. Gillette jumped into a smaller boat to look for the person in trouble. She spotted him in the water not far from shore. Before reaching him, she worried that she might be too late - he was not wearing a life jacket and was having difficulty keeping his head above water.

When she did reach him, he was able to partially get on the boat's swim platform, where Mrs. Gillette was then able to pull him onboard and safely bring him to shore. Back on shore, neighbors wrapped him in blankets and the Clayton Fireboat administered medical treatment.

"We are so thankful to Mrs. Gillette for her admirable quick-thinking when presented with this emergency," said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. "I offer my congratulations as she earns much-deserved recognition for her noble actions, as well as her knowledge and practice of safe navigation."

The National Award of Commendation is given in recognition of persons who have exhibited heroism and faced risks to their own lives in saving another person involved in a recreation boating incident. Since its inception in 2008, it has been awarded six times to New York State boaters.

The New York State Parks Recreational Boating Life Saving Award recognizes the ultimate boating Good Samaritan who comes to the aid another boater in life-threatening distress and successfully rescues them.

The Office of Parks and Recreation and the United States Coast Guard strongly recommend wearing life jackets, especially while boating alone or when the water is cold. It is also recommended that all boaters properly equip and carry essential safety gear, signaling devices and whistles; inform others with a general destination and when to expect a return; take a boating safety course; and always refrain from mixing alcohol with boating.

For more information about boating safety and marine recreation, please visit

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 179 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 60 million people annually. A recent study by commissioned by Parks & Trails New York found that New York State Parks generates $1.9 billion in economic activity annually and supports 20,000 jobs. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.