Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

June 29, 2018

Randy Simons | Dan Keefe
518-486-1868 | news@parks.ny.gov

State Park Police Encourage Safe Boating, Announce Stepped Up Enforcement This Weekend

Nationwide Safe Boating Campaign, Operation Dry Water, Aims to Reduce Accidents and Prevent Deaths

The New York State Park Police announce stepped-up enforcement beginning Friday June 29 as part of the nationwide awareness and enforcement campaign, Operation Dry Water. This weekend State Park Police are warning boaters that additional officers will be patrolling State waterways and will have numerous checkpoints set-up as there will be zero tolerance for anyone boating under the influence.

"New York State has some of the most exceptional waterways offering the best recreational boating around and we encourage all to do their part by following a few simple precautions to ensure a safe an enjoyable experience," State Parks Police Chief David Page. "It is so important to remind boaters that boating under the influence is a very serious offense that could carry ramifications for years to come with the ultimate price possibly being their life or the lives of others."

Partnering with the U.S. Coast Guard and National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, Operation Dry Water aims to reduce boating accidents and deaths caused by impaired boating through aggressive awareness.

In New York State it is illegal to operate a vessel with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher – the same as operating a motor vehicle. Boaters should identify and designate a sober and qualified operator to operate the vessel at all times. Any boater found to be boating under the influence face misdemeanor fines up to $1000 and a year in jail for the first offense and as high as $10,000 in fines for felony offenses with multiple convictions.

In addition, boaters are reminded to practice safe and responsible boating, including:

  • 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;
  • Complete a safe boating course;
  • Properly equip and inspect their vessel;
  • Maintain a prudent speed;
  • Refrain from mixing alcohol with boating; and
  • Check the weather forecast before heading out on the water to learn about potential storms and seek immediate shelter on shore if thunder is audible.
  • Develop a float plan and leave it with a reliable person on shore

People paddling canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards should know their abilities and take precautions when there are high or steady winds creating large waves, or when they are in strong currents. Paddlers in waters where there are motorboats should keep close to shorelines and out of main channels. New York State Parks recommends that life jackets be worn on all paddlecraft.

For more information about boating safety - including listings of boating safety courses - and marine recreation in New York State, visit www.parks.ny.gov/recreation/boating.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which are visited by 71 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.parks.ny.gov, connect with us on Facebook, or follow on Instagram and Twitter.