Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

May 18, 2007

For Release: Immediate
Press Contact:
Eileen Larrabee
Catherine Jimenez

State Parks Recongnizes National Safe Boating Week

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash today recognized May 19-25 as National Safe Boating Week and the traditional beginning of the recreational boating season in New York State.

With its coastal waters, historic canalways and magnificent lakes and rivers, it is easy to understand why boating is so popular throughout the state," said Ash. "New York is committed to ensuring safe waters for our recreational boaters through education and enforcement. It is also important for operators of all watercraft to take every precaution to develop and practice safe habits, boat smart and always wear the proper life jacket. Safe boating saves lives!"

National Safe Boating Week is a campaign sponsored by the National Safe Boating Council and provides an opportunity to spread the message of boating safety and encourage boater education. Throughout the season, boaters are reminded to practice safe and responsible boating, always wear a life jacket, and be alert and aware while on the water.

In New York State, children under 12 must wear a life jacket at all times unless situated within the cabin of a vessel. Each vessel must have one United States Coast Guard approved life jacket for each person on board. In nearly 80 percent of fatalities associated with recreational boating in New York State, the victim was not wearing a life jacket.

In recent years, fines and penalties for boating while intoxicated have been increased and now match those of driving while intoxicated. The state blood alcohol limit for boating while intoxicated is .08. In addition, New York has a zero tolerance provision for individuals under 21 convicted of boating while intoxicated.

All personal watercraft operators, regardless of age, are required to complete a safe boating course. Children between the age of 10 and 18 must complete a safe boating course if they are operating a vessel without adult supervision. The State Parks Marine Service Unit is responsible for the general coordination of boating safety programs and supports marine law enforcement efforts across the state including patrols, training and funding for local marine enforcement activities. New York has one of the largest boating safety education programs in the country that has educated more than 100,000 recreational boaters over the past five seasons.

Ash further noted that regardless of age, activity or level of experience, "everyone will benefit from taking a comprehensive boating course and learning the fundamentals of water safety."

For more information about boating safety and marine recreation in New York State, visit or call 518-474-0445.