MAYFIELD, N.Y. (NEWS10) — It is National Boat Safety Week, when officials reinforce water safety skills to boaters and everyone out on the water. EMS personnel, anticipating many revelers out on the water this Memorial Day Weekend, are preparing as well.
“There’s a lot of people out, whether on kayaking, swimming, fishing,” said Fulton County Sheriff Ricahrd Giardino. “We just encourage safety and deter reckless driving.”
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation reports that in 2021, there were 192 boating accidents, resulting in 118 injuries and 18 deaths on New York’s waterways. U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in 80% of recreational boating fatalities in 2020, with 86% of those victims not wearing life jackets. Safe boating begins with preparation, and basic boating safety procedures include carrying life-saving emergency distress and communications equipment, wearing life jackets, attending safe boating courses, participating in free boat safety checks, and staying sober when navigating can help ensure boaters stay safe throughout the season.
“They call it a personal floatation device, but we call them life vests because they save your life,” Giardino said.
On Thursday, local law enforcement held its 7th-annual Great Sacandaga Lake multi-jurisdictional training exercise. Officials said this was the largest contingent of law enforcement officers, fire, and emergency management operation staff since the training began in 2016 with just four agencies. The event scenarios were developed by the Department of Environmental Conservations alongside the other agencies involved.
“We want to work together in a live training so we get to know each other and the resources the other agencies have,” Giardino said. “We all work together.”
Those participating this year include the Sheriff’s Offices from Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, and Saratoga Counties, the New York State Police, the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Emergency Management Operations Offices of Fulton, Montgomery, and Saratoga Counties, the Broadalbin-Kenyetto FD, the Mayfield Fire Department, the Northville Fire Department, the Edinburgh Fire Department, the District Attorneys from Fulton, Montgomery and Saratoga Counties, as well as the Fulton County Coroner’s Office.
Alpin Haus general sales manager Mark O’Dell said his team noticed increased sales of boating supplies during the pandemic. He also said he expects to see a lot of new, inexperienced boaters on the water. “Really keep your head on a swivel,” he said. “Be courteous and give everyone enough room to properly boat and be safe.”