Boater Safety Week is almost over, but the same rules apply throughout the year
by Jim McGinnis
Over the next few months more of us will be using boats on the Finger Lakes. Since National Boating Safety Week is this week (May 16-22, 2020) , it is a perfect time to review boating safety guidelines.
Cold Water Hazards – In the earlier portions of the boating season our lake temperatures are dangerously cold. If boaters happen to fall into the cold water, it can be a matter of a brief few minutes before they become incapacitated. As a safety precaution, those rowing boats, such as kayaks and canoes, should attempt to stay close to the shoreline. Should a boat capsize, that may allow the boater to make it to shore or possibly obtain assistance from someone nearby.
Weather – No matter what type of boating you are doing, check the weather forecast for the day with a keen eye for wind conditions that might change quickly causing high waves and a boat to capsize. If things look dicey, stay ashore. If you are on the lake and the wind starts to rise or if you see a storm is approaching, it’s time to get off the water and save your recreation for another day.
Boat Maintenance – If you are operating a motorboat or sailboat, make sure all equipment is in good working condition. If there is a breakdown you can be stranded for hours on a large lake since other boaters may not be close enough to hear your horn or whistle, or you shouting for help.
Safety Equipment – Never get in any boat without having a life jacket that fits you. Insist that family and friends also wear a life jacket. This goes for good swimmers and on any type of boat.
We want you to observe these cautions yourself and with your friends and family. Take opportunities to spread the word among friends, neighbors, and folks around the lake, so that everyone can enjoy a happy, safe, sunny summer in the Finger Lakes!