4th of July Boating: How to stay safe on Lake Ontario & St. Lawrence River

ABC50 NOW

ALEXANDRIA BAY, N.Y. (WWTI) — As for many, the Fourth of July will be spent on the water. However, popular weekends such as July 4 can pose many risks while out in boats.

The United States Coast Guard out of Alexandria Bay, New York offered tips and warnings on how to safely boat at popular destinations on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

Station Chief Peter Nelson listed the following tips for all boaters, of all experience-levels:

  • File a “float plan:” Detail your destination, estimated time of arrival, how many people are with you
  • Track the weather
  • Wear a life jacket
  • Bring proper equipment
  • Carry nautical charts or a GPS

Additionally, a factor that continues to affect boaters is the restriction of nonessential travel between the United States and Canada. Nelson stated that this applies to boaters regardless of intentions to make landfall.

“Regardless of if you were intending to actually make landfall, you need to stay on the U.S. side,” stated Nelson. “It’s trickier on water because there’s no actual, land border, or line. So that’s where your chart plotter or a nautical chart will let you know.”

And this year as well, many are continuing to raise concerns over the low water levels. Which Nelson emphasized can also create dangerous situations on the water.

And the Coast Guard will be increasing patrols on the water this weekend for safety concerns, but also to identify those drinking and boating.

“You know, again, we tell all boaters, not only to wear a life jacket, but also not to drink and boat. It can be a hazard, not only to themselves, but other people out on the water,” he emphasized.

If you find yourself in an emergency situation this weekend on the water, U.S. Coast Guard will be responding to all 911 calls.

The U.S. Coast Guard Alexandria Bay Station is located on Wellesley Island on the St. Lawrence River.

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