BOATER SAFETY

The Great Sacandaga Lake is a 29 mile long reservoir.  There are few issues that are more important on the lake than boater safety.  The Great Sacandaga Lake Association supports a safer lake by offering information on boater safety through local media outlets as well as through offering  FREE New York State Boater Safety courses during the year at sites approved by the Association. 


Boaters Heading for Shore Before the Storm (May 30, 2014)

Photo taken from Capt. Nauti's Sunset Grill on the Great Sacandaga Lake courtesy of GSLA Member Rebecca Wilburn.

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SAND ISLAND - AUGUST, 2017 (COURTESY OF FULTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT)


PRESS RELEASE: ISSUES RELATING TO GREAT SACANDAGA LAKE (FULTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT

                                    ISSUES RELATING TO GREAT SACANDAGA LAKE

 Recently we have received a number of complaints involving the Great Sacandaga
Lake. 

I.                    Jet-Skiers Allegedly Running Over Ducklings Near Batchellerville Bridge

 The most recent incident involves the alleged death of ducklings near the Batchellerville Bridge on Sunday August 6th, 2017, between 10:30 and 11:30 am.  A witness reported that two young men circled around the ducks on jet-skis and then appeared to drive directly over them.  The description of the jet-skies is as follows: both Sea Doo Sparks, one burnt orange and white and the second blackish\yellow.  The NYS DEC is currently investigating this incident.  Anyone with information is asked to contact NYS DEC Officer Brian Toth at (518) 222-1815 or email: brian.toth@dec.ny.gov or the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office at (518) 736-2100 and we will forward information.
 
II.                  General Safety Issues

 We have received numerous complaints of boats and jet-skis speeding in no wake zones, within 100 feet of shore and docks and swerving in and out of the paths of kayaks, sailboats, fishermen, swimmers, water skiers or tubers.  These are all violations of the Navigation Law.  We ask that you follow the navigation rules and laws and also respect the many other recreational users of the Lake.  We ask you to recreate responsible.  Limit alcohol use, follow the law and rules, use common sense and let others around you enjoy the Lake as well.
 
More information on lake safety issues can be found at Seancraigmemorialfund.org or FB seancraigmemorialfund.  

                                                                 
  III.                Substantial Littering On Sand Island And Other Islands

 Attached please find numerous photos of trash, garbage, diapers, beer bottles, cans and human waste discarded on Sand Island.  Thousands of people use the beautifulreat Sacandaga Lake for a variety of recreational activities, particularly on the weekends.  The vast majority are decent law abiding citizens who follow the law and rules. They enjoy the vast opportunities that the Lake provides.  However less than a hundred are slobs (appropriate under these circumstances based on the attached photos) who don’t respect the beauty of the Sacandaga.   It is an offense to litter and it is creating a risk to the public health and safety.  The quality of the lake water is currently in compliance with State law, however those who fail or refuse to carry trash off the islands are jeopardizing the public health and safety and also diminishing a beautiful local resource.  We ask you to carry off what you carry on, it takes less than 5 minutes to package and carry YOUR garbage off the Islands.
 
More on this carry on carry off or leave no trace can be found at the NYS DEC website.

 IV.                Beacon Island A.K.A. Yacht Club Island

 A widely circulated rumor is that the Mayfield Yacht Club is not the current permit holder of Beacon Island in the Mayfield part of the Lake.  That is false.  The Mayfield Yacht Club is the current exclusive permit holder of Beacon Island.  The HRRD-BRRD issues annual permits to individuals, businesses and organizations (the marinas, the Boy Scouts-Scout Island and the restaurants) for their use and enjoyment.  These organizations and business like the lake residents pay for the permits. We ask that your respect their permits and the system that has been in place for over 40 years.

                                     For more information www.gsla.org

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SAND ISLAND - AUGUST, 2017 (COURTESY OF FULTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT)


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ANNOUNCEMENT FROM FULTON COUNTY SHERIFF:  PRESS RELEASE

          EXTENSIVE TRAINING ON THE SACANDAGA LAKE THIS WEEK

Residents on the Great Sacandaga Lake will see an increased law enforcement presence this week.  There are several trainings occurring this week with multiple law enforcement Navigation Patrols and Dive Teams on the lake.
 
Monday and Tuesday the Marine Services Bureau of the NYS Parks and Recreation Department will be conducting a two day intensive training for members of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office Boat Patrol.  The legal portion of the training was conducted Monday at the Paul Nigra Center on Route 30.  Tuesday the operator’s portion of the training will be conducted from Grandview Marina on the Mayfield and Broadalbin portions of the lake.
 
On Wednesday, the Marine Services Bureau with the New York State Police will be conducting a Tactical Navigation Operations School.  This training is the first of its kind in upstate New York and will focus on high speed incidents, tactical operations and the boarding of vessels in dangerous situations.
 
On Thursday, a joint training operation will be conducted at the north end of the lake this will include Dive Teams from the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and the Amsterdam Police Department\ Amsterdam Fire Department Joint Team.  The Fulton and Montgomery County Sheriffs’ Offices will be participating with their Navigation Units.
 
Additionally, Thursday the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office will be training on the Mayfield\Broadalbin areas of the lake with the new Side Scan Sonar purchased by a $30,000 donation from the Sean Craig Memorial Fund.  The Fund is committed to improving the safety of those who enjoy water recreation in the Fulton, Montgomery and Saratoga Region.  Their mission is to secure and deploy resources for the safety, prevention, education, response and rescue to injury, accident or natural disaster and in the event of a fatality to support the needed recovery services.
 
Sheriff Richard Giardino said: “The donation of the side scan sonar can have a dramatic impact on reducing the recovery time in the event of a drowning on the Sacandaga or other area lakes.  
 
Fulton County Sheriff Giardino, Montgomery County Sheriff Mike Amato, Saratoga County Sheriff Mike Zurlo and Warren County Sheriff Bud York and Chief Greg Culick of the Amsterdam Police Department and Chief Michael Whitty of the Amsterdam Fire Department are committed to working  jointly to reduce the rescue and recovery time in lake and river incidents around the region.  Each agency has equipment unique to their agency that can be useful to other agencies.  All the agency heads believe that the joint training provides not only an opportunity for their members to improve their skills but also get to know the members of the other agencies. This will insure that when a major incident occurs the officers will know each other and know the resources available from the other agencies.
 
With Memorial Day Weekend recognized as the start of the boat and recreational lake season we remind people of some basic safety tips: use personal flotation devices, do not operate a boat, jet-ski or other vessel while impaired or intoxicated by alcohol or other substances, equip your vessel with the required equipment, operate only in areas you are familiar, do not operate in the dark unless you are familiar with the area and respect the rights of swimmers, fishermen and other users of the lake.

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GSLA PROVIDES FREE NYS BOATING SAFETY CLASSES FOR MEMBERS AT SITES APPROVED BY THE ASSOCIATION: The GSLA continues its program of FREE boating safety classes for members of the GSLA.  Approved sites and session dates are provided prior to the class.  Members are given priority on a space available basis.  Unfilled slots are provided to non-members according to the date of application.  GSLA family membership qualifies members for multiple seats at the session. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT FREE CLASSES ARE ONLY PROVIDED AT APPROVED SITES TO PRE-REGISTERED PARTICIPANTS.  ALL PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS WILL BE NOTIFIED OF THEIR ACCEPTANCE, PRIOR TO THE SESSION DATE.  Successful completion of the course results in a certificate for operation of a motorboat (for individuals born after May 1, 1996 and 10 years of age or personal watercraft (14 years of age or older).  Members may currently enroll for the 2016 classes.  Classes are offered as a lake community service by NAV-ED Services Group (www.nav-ed.com) of Ballston Lake.

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BBQ ROAST FOR SHERIFF DEPARTMENT:  Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino, together with the Fulton County Sheriff's Association, invite you and your family to a BBQ/Pig Roast Fundraiser for the Fulton County Sheriff's Department on Sunday, June 5th from Noon to 5 p.m. at Pine Park, 12 Pine Street, Broadalbin, N.Y. (across from Kenyetto/Broadalbin Fire Department on Route 29).  The money will go to fund several programs including: the K-9 fund, the Boat Patrol, Training and Equipment.

MADMAX and Crossroads will also perform.

Prices are $25.00 per person, $40.00 for 2 people, and children 12 and under Free.

PLEASE MAIL TO: FCSA, c/o FULTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT., P.O. BOX 20, JOHNSTOWN, NY 12095, BY MAY 27th TO INSURE A PROPER COUNT.

infofcsa@yahoo.com

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SACANDAGA POWER SQUADRON BOATER SAFETY CLASSES: The local chapter of the Power Squadron provides boater safety classes for a fee.  The Squadron may be contacted by through www.usps.org; www.SacandagaBoating.org; or sacandaga@nycap.rr.com.  Contacts include P/D/C Denise Terry, AP or Cdr. Robert J. Terry, P.  The Sacandaga Power Squadron can perform a Vessel Safety Check on your boat.  To have your Vessel Safety Check scheduled, send an e-mail to Cdr. Robert J. Terry P at spsqsafety@nycap.rr.com.

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GSLA BOATER SAFETY INITIATIVES: On January 14, 2016, The Great Sacandaga Lake Association announced the establishment of an optional membership donation category to support boating safety and lake patrols.  The Association also announced a $2,000 donation to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department to assist in re-introducing and maintaining boat patrols on the Great Sacandaga Lake. 

GSLA President Peter Byron commented that:  “Our members were increasingly concerned in the last two years about boater safety on the lake caused by a perceived increase in boat noise and boat speed.  In order to understand the problem, the GSLA surveyed members and spoke to other lake organization representatives and elected officials.  The Association also invited representatives from the New York State Police and the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department to provide recommendations and answer questions from membership at our two most recent annual membership meetings.”

The lake community is united in wanting to improve boater safety on the Great Sacandaga.  They believe however that many boat operators are not aware of navigation law and that the problem might be further compounded by the lack of boat patrols in Fulton County.   

A request for the return of Fulton County boat patrols was timely.  The 2015 electoral season included the election of the Sheriff in Fulton County.   The GSLA requested statements on boat patrols from both candidates in the fall and shared these with membership.  Both candidates were supportive of the re-introduction of patrols.

Sheriff Richard Giardino who was elected in November, 2015, provided the following which addresses the concerns the Association received from the lake community.  Sheriff Giardino wrote:  “The mission of the boat patrol will be to assist boaters and other users of the lakes who need assistance; to provide educational information on the Navigation Law requirements and give boaters an opportunity to bring their boats into compliance voluntarily; to assist fire departments and other emergency service providers with jurisdiction over the lakes; and to provide a presence to deter reckless conduct on the lakes thereby allowing all users to enjoy the lake to its fullest without unnecessary interference.”

Byron commented: “Our Board decided that it was important to establish a donation method by which members could contribute in the long term to an expanded boater safety/lake patrol initiative.  The Board also believed that a donation to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department would assist in making the return of boat patrols possible for the 2016 boating season!”

The GSLA thanks the membership and other members of the lake community who shared their thoughts during the deliberations.  We particularly thank members of the law enforcement community for their input and willingness to meet with our members.  We believe that the lake community is strongest when everyone is concerned about the lake!  It is the Association’s hope that other associations, groups and individuals join the Great Sacandaga Lake Association in supporting Sheriff Giardino’s efforts in re-introducing and maintaining boat patrols in Fulton County and in supporting the efforts of other law enforcement agencies who are an essential part of boater safety on our great lake.  Sheriff Giardino's statement to the Association can be found at BOAT PATROL.

Boat Speed and Noise on the Great Sacandaga:  In response to member concern, the GSLA invited a representative from the Saratoga Sheriff's Office to share his experiences on the issue of boat noise and speed on the Great Sacandaga at the annual GSLA Membership Meeting.  He reported that some of the 'fast' boats are capable of reaching speeds of 90 to 100 mph on the lake.  Members discussed the issue with the Deputy and as a result, the GSLA established a work group to review the issue and make recommendations, as needed.  The group has contacted other lake groups requesting their participation in the endeavor.  The work group would like other groups to participate and also requests that members submit their ideas and suggestions to the GSLA for inclusion in the discussion.  Members will be updated on the progress of the discussions by member-exclusive e-burst.

New York State Introduces NEW Online Boater Safety Option:   New York State has introduced a new option for boater safety.  Two vendors have been approved to provide online access to the boater safety curriculum.  The course will cost $29.95 a person for those who successfully complete the course and examination.  More details are available at the State website.  See BOATER SAFETY ONLINE.  The GSLA will continue to offer FREE classroom boater safety instruction for members.  (See below)

FREE NYS BOATING SAFETY CLASSES:  The Great Sacandaga Lake Association provides NYS Boating Safety classes during the boating season.  The 8-hour course provides successful participants with a NYS Boating Safety certificate.  (All graduates receive a 90-day temporary boating certificate. Students under 18 years of age receive a permanent certificate from the State at no charge.  Individuals 18 years and older must pay a  fee of $10 to New York State to receive a permanent certificate.)

The GSLA class is offered as a member benefit to GSLA members depending on membership type.  An individual would normally be charged $55 for the course.  An individual membership ($15) in the GSLA entitles the member to one free course.  A family membership ($25) provides FREE courses to the member's family (+10 year of age).  The benefit is a good one for the member and great for boater safety on the Great Sacandaga! 

Join now because GSLA members receive an exclusive member-only PRIOR e-notice of the class schedule.  Membership fees can be paid using PayPal.

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BOATER SAFETY BROCHURE (FOR DISTRIBUTION):  The GSLA has produced a boater safety brochure for distribution to family, neighbors and friends.  The brochure provides information about boating on the Great Sacandaga as well as a review of navigation laws which are important for boaters.  The brochure can be accessed by the link: BOATER SAFETY BROCHURE  and may be forwarded electronically or printed and distributed.   

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NOTICE FROM NEW YORK STATE TO LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES REGARDING THE TIMELY ISSUANCE OF PERMANENT BOATER SAFETY CERTIFICATES (IMPORTANT TO MEMBERS WHO COMPLETED COURSES DURING THE SUMMER OF 2014 AND HAVE NOT RECEIVED A PERMANENT (PLASTIC) CARD): 

To Whom It May Concern,

Due to the passage of the new mandatory education law effective May 1, 2014, State Parks has experienced a sharp increase in the number of students completing the New York Safe Boating Course.  Coupled with staff reductions and the unexpected depletion of our supply of course certificate cards, we are facing a situation in which we will not be able to issue students their permanent cards before the expiration of their temporary certificates.  As such, we are asking that your officers accept temporary certificates issued after 4 July 2014 even if they have expired beyond their 90 day grace period.

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NEW YORK STATE ISSUES NEW REGULATIONS TO COMBAT INVASIVES

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued new regulations effective IMMEDIATELY to require boaters using DEC boat launch sites to inspect and take actions to clean invasive species from their boats prior to launching.  See INVASIVES for additional information.

GSLA CALL TO MEMBERS FOR ADDITIONAL VOLUNTEER BOATER SAFETY INSTRUCTORS

The Great Sacandaga Lake Association has received many inquiries since the Governor signed the new boater safety legislation requesting information on FREE classes offered to our membership.  The GSLA is a member-supported organization and will rely on volunteer instructors to expand our summer instructional program.  THE GSLA IS SEEKING VOLUNTEERS TO TEACH A CLASS FOR THE ORGANIZATION DURING THE BOATING SEASON.  Volunteers will receive instructional materials from the State upon their approval as instructors.  Individuals must hold a NYS Boater Safety Certificate to be eligible. The GSLA will mentor volunteers and select individuals for the Association's program.  Please send an email to sloffice@gsla.org with any questions or to indicate interest in joining YOUR association in this important task.  Additional information is available at NYSPARKS.

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NEW BOATER SAFETY LEGISLATION SIGNED INTO LAW

The new law requires that persons born after May 1, 1996 "operating a mechanically propelled vessel to be a holder of a boating safety certificate;"  The law was effective on May 1, 2014.  See ANNOUNCEMENT.

The full text for the legislation appears at: MANDATORY BOATER SAFETY LAW.

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GSLA POLICY REGARDING ENROLLMENT IN GSLA-SPONSORED BOATER SAFETY CLASSES

The GSLA is a not-for profit Association with limited fiscal and personnel resources.  Lake community residents benefit from many of GSLA lake-wide activities i.e. high school citizenship awards, prom activities, contributions to local causes.  However, GSLA members have the added benefit of access to our FREE NYS Boater Safety courses.  An individual  GSLA membership provides access for the enrollee;  family membership or higher provides access to the FREE program for the enrollee, their children and extended family until the approved student level is reached.   Children must be 10 years of age to enroll in the boater safety class.  Temporary certificates are provided upon successful completion of the class.  Individuals 18 years of age and older must submit an additional fee to the State of New York for the permanent certificate.

A waiting list will be maintained for non-GSLA members wishing to attend the FREE classes.  Individuals on the waiting list will be notified shortly before the class if GSLA members have not requested all available seats.  Non-GSLA members who would like to join the Association may apply for membership either through payment by mail or by using PayPal.  Individuals will be notified of membership and eligibility for the FREE course when payment is received.  It is highly recommended that individuals consider PayPal if they require an immediate membership approval.

For information on membership options see MEMBERSHIP.

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SUMMARY OF NEW YORK STATE REGULATIONS

The following is a summary of New York State regulations on safe boating as appearing in New York Safe Boating.  This is not meant to substitute for a comprehensive review of the regulations.

BOAT REGISTRATION

"Every type of motorized craft that is capable of being used as a means of transportation on the water must be registered whether the purpose is recreational or commercial."

PERSONS REQUIRED TO COMPLETE A SAFETY COURSE

"The law in New York requires the following people to have a Boater Safety Certificate.  Anyone who is at least 14 years of age and wishes to operate a personal watercraft (PWC). Anyone who is at least 10 years of age, but less than 18 years old and wishes to operate a motor boat (not a PWC) without adult supervision."  As of May 1, 2014 - "No person born on or after May first,  Nineteen Hundred Ninety-Six, shall operate a mechanically propelled vessel on navigable waters of the state or any tidewaters bordering on or lying within the boundaries of Nassau and Suffolk counties ...." (see full text in link, above).

ACCEPTABLE CERTIFICATES

"Boating safety certificates issued by the following organizations are legal in New York State.  The United States Power Squadrons.  The US Coast Guard Auxiliary.  A boating safety certificate issued to a resident of another state or country is also acceptable, but the boater must carry the certificate while operating a boat in New York State."

A Boating Safety Certificate is not required if "you are a certified NY Safe Boating Course Instructor, a holder of a valid New York State Public Vessel Operators license, a US Power Squadron instructor, a member of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, licensed to operate boats by the US or Canadian Coast Guard."

REQUIRED EQUIPMENT

(1) PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICES (PFDs)

"Every pleasure boat floating or sailing in New York State waters must carry a least one wearable US Coast Guard Approved PFD, for each person on board.  In addition, boats 16 feet and greater in length also must carry a Type IV throwable PFD."

"Children under the age of twelve must wear a Type I, Type II, or Type III PFD on board a boat unless in a fully enclosed cabin. The PFD must be the appropriate size for the child."

"Anyone operating or riding on a personal watercraft (Jet Ski, Wave Runner, or similar craft must wear a PFD."

"Anyone being towed behind a boat, such as water skiers, tubers, parasailers, etc., must wear a PFD. "

"Everyone on board any vessel of less than 21 feet, including rowboats, canoes and kayaks, between November first and May first must wear a PFD."

(2) VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNALS

"During the daytime motorboats 16 feet or longer, and any sailboat longer than 26 feet must carry day and night signals."

(3) FIRE EXTINGUISHERS

"US Coast Guard Approved fire extinguishers are required on boats where a fire hazard could be expected from the motor or the fuel system -- that means all boats that have engines must also have a fire extinguisher."

(4) SOUND SIGNALING DEVICE

"All mechanically propelled boats must carry some sort of sound signaling device."

(5) ANCHOR AND LINE

"All motorized boats must carry an anchor and line of sufficient weight and strength to provide the boat with safe anchorage.  Although the law applies only to motorized craft, all boats should carry an anchor in case of an emergency on the water."

SPEED LIMITS ON THE LAKE

"2. Except as provided in section forty-five-cc of this part, no vessel shall be operated within one hundred feet of the shore, a dock, pier, raft, float or an anchored or moored vessel at a speed exceeding five miles per hour, unless such vessel is being operated near such shore, dock, float, pier, raft or anchored vessel for the purpose of enabling a person engaged in water skiing to take off or land. (Navigation Law 45 - 2)

*Note: Navigation Law indicates 'pier' which can be considered as the pier of a bridge.  This section prohibits operation beyond 5 mph when transiting under a bridge.

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