Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

April 17, 2007

For Release: Immediate
Press Contact:
Eileen Larrabee
Catherine Jimenez

State Parks Stresses Danger Of Flood Waters

(Albany, New York, Tuesday, April 17, 2007... ) New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Acting Commissioner Carol Ash today reminds early spring boaters, paddlers and anglers, as well as anyone drawn to the attractiveness of the state's swollen waterways to exercise extreme caution in light of the recent heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding.

"It is important that outdoor enthusiasts know the dangers associated with the recent early spring flooding across the state and take every precaution to develop and practice safe habits," said Ash. "The simple safety measures we take such as putting on a life jacket and being aware of the risks and conditions can make all the difference in averting a tragedy."

Ash strongly recommends against anyone attempting to launch small boats, especially canoes and kayaks, on any swollen or flooded waterway, as there are numerous hazards that could turn such undertaking into a tragedy. These fast moving waters, flooded by recent record rainfall, may be heavily debris ridden, fast moving and still extremely cold.

In addition, Ash stressed that children be closely monitored when in the area of creeks, rivers, seashores and other waterways. Boaters venturing out on larger bodies of water should be prepared with the appropriate life jackets, survival suits as well as safety equipment including flares, whistle, flashlight, VHF radio and cell phone.

Al Johnson, recreational boating specialist for the Northeast's First Coast Guard District said, "with spring weather here and with most ponds and lakes now ice-free, many people are heading out on to the water. Boaters, paddlers and others venturing out on any body of water at this time of year should have a definite plan of action in the event of sudden cold water immersion."

Residents are encouraged to do a thorough risk assessment and to be aware of quick rising waters, changes in stream flow, and the potential for large debris carried by fast moving waters. Although rain showers are expected to continue through the middle of the week, warmer weather is forecasted for the weekend. New York State Parks is stressing the dangers of cold water and sudden cold water immersion and the risks of hypothermia.

For more information about boating safety and marine recreation in New York State, visit or call 518.474.0445.