MAYFIELD, N.Y. (NEWS10) — This Saturday through Friday, May 26, is National Safe Boating Week, and officers in Saratoga, Fulton, and Montgomery Counties are once again active participants. With summer around the corner, the event serves as a reminder to stay safe before boating season begins.

“We’re not out there to harass anybody,” said Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo. “We’re out there to make sure you have the proper equipment in each watercraft as you navigate the waterways.”

“In fact, over 70% of deaths on the waters may have been prevented if they had flotation devices,” added Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino. He also said you should be familiar with the waters before setting sail. “If you’re not familiar with the lake, and you go on the Sacandaga or the rivers, or any other lakes in Saratoga, Fulton, or Montgomery County, we encourage you to get on in the light and get off before dusk,” noted Giardino.

But just because it’s light and warm, doesn’t mean the water is safe for swimming. “The water’s going to be about 55 degrees, I believe,” said Zurlo. “So maybe that’s not something you want to do Memorial Day weekend.”

“When people jump into the water, they’re going to have that gag reflex,” added Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Officer Shane Manns. “That reflex of like, tensed right up. And that’s not good, once you have that feeling. I would just ease in if you’re going to try to go swimming. I just wouldn’t jump off a boat into the water.”

Manns added that it’s important to not just protect yourself but protect the waterways. “Make sure those, what we call, ‘creepy crawlies’ aren’t around,” he said. “No vegetation, no zebra mussels, nothing hanging off the boats. Make sure the bilges are empty, and make sure everything’s clean and dry.”

Overall, have fun on the lake, but stay safe. “Always use your head,” Manns stressed. “Be smart out there on the water and enjoy it but be smart.”