Law enforcement is out doing safety checks on Canandaigua Lake.
“We’ll pull up alongside and just have a conversation, so we’ll run through all the safety equipment they’re required to have on board,” said Deputy Sheriff John Peck with the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff’s Office ramps up patrols for Fourth of July weekend (video)
Rules of the water are important- especially on holiday weekends
FingerLakes1.com hopped on a boat with Ontario County Deputy Sheriff John Peck, who is assigned to the marine unit. Peck will be patrolling Canandaigua Lake this Fourth of July Weekend, and he says he has his work cut out for him.
“In fact when we were coming to pick you up, I had to actually stop so that a boat that didn’t properly yield the right of way to me could pass by,” Peck said. “So if we see that happening we’ll stop the boats and typically our job out here is education.”
Holiday weekends like these, Peck says, are when his team faces more inexperienced boaters.
“A lot of the marinas have rental boats so the folks that are coming out on the rental boats frequently aren’t regular boaters, so we try to educate them on the rules of the road, and also some of the rules and regulations as far as alcohol consumption because obviously with the holiday weekend that’s going to be a big factor,” Peck said.
Law enforcement looking out for drug and alcohol use
And it’s not just alcohol New York safe boating instructor Ira Goldman is worried about this year.
“Drug usage and boating,” Goldman said. “It used to be we just talked about drinking but now that marijuana is legal in New York State, I think operating under the influence is a big issue. When you’re out on the water and it’s hot and you’re in the sun, the effects of alcohol and its effect on your reflexes is multiplied.”
Carrying life vests for each person on board, and this includes people who are out jet-skiing or partaking in water sports, is a crucial safety measure when the waterways are busy, experts say. Children under the age of 12 are required to wear personal floatation devices when in motion.
Experienced boaters hope others are careful during water sports
Meanwhile, more experienced boaters like Mike Cooney are ready for the crowds.
“There’s plenty of people who don’t understand where they can go tubing, where they can go skiing, what the proper right-of-ways are, so you really have to be overly aware of your surroundings during those holiday weekends because everybody and their brother are on the water,” Cooney said.
Peck says if you’re planning on being out enjoying our beautiful lakes, read up on the rules of the water, and always be aware of your surroundings, because driving a jet ski or boat can be dangerous.
“The big thing is reckless operation they get behind the wheel of the boat and unlike a road there’s lanes and navigation devices like stop signs and traffic lights, and out here on the lake there aren’t those things,” Peck said.
To sign up for a safe boating course, click here.
Rebecca is a veteran multimedia journalist serving as one of our core reporters in the Finger Lakes region. She is responsible for telling stories that matter to every day Upstate New Yorkers. Have a question or lead? Send it to [email protected].