TICONDEROGA - In light of recent tragic boating accidents on Lake George, the Lake George Association has compiled a list of 12 key tips for boating safety.
In recent years, Lake George has seen a dramatic increase in the use of small craft - canoes, kayaks, small sailboats and personal watercraft. When boating on Lake George, or any large body of water with multi-use traffic, boaters are advised to follow these tips to protect their safety, and the safety of others using the Lake.
The top four causes of boating accidents in New York State are submerged objects, wakes, weather and operator inattention.
The tips are:
GET a PROPER EDUCATION. Before operating a motorboat, everyone should take a boating safety course.
KNOW the LOCATION of SUBMERGED OBJECTS. Watch for and understand navigational markers. Carry a chart or map of the lake.
PAY ATTENTION to WAKES. Know how to navigate them, and be responsible for those you create.
Be WEATHER WISE. Always check the weather first. Due to the high mountains surrounding Lake George, boaters cannot always see storms coming. Before setting out, check the radar at http://forecast.weather.gov
VISION is KEY. Motorboat operators should look over the top of the windshield - not through it. Keep the bow of the boat low to see clearly ahead. Assign a designated lookout to keep an eye out for other boaters, objects, especially small craft and swimmers.
NO DRUGS or ALCOHOL. Never use drugs or alcohol before or during boat operation.
BUY a COMFY lightweight PFD (personal floatation device). Too often PFDs are left behind or not worn because they are uncomfortable, especially by paddlers.
Motorboats: THINK CENTER. Paddlers: THINK EDGES. Motorboats on Lake George can enjoy considerably more elbow-room when they travel in the center of the lake. Paddlers should cruise close to shore whenever possible.
BRIGHT COLORS for Paddlers. Place a KAYAK SAFETY FLAG (similar to a bike flag) on your vessel. Purchase a hat and PFD with contrasting day-glow colors. Use reflective tape on your paddles.
Be ready to SIGNAL using a handheld HORN. Paddlers and small sailboats can carry an electronic handheld signaling device or a horn with compressed air .
COMMUNICATE. Always let someone on shore know where you are going and when you'll be back. Keep an old, discarded cell phone on board your boat to call 911.
KNOW and FOLLOW the RULES of the ROAD. Motorized craft must give right of way to non-motorized craft, and boats being passed have the right of way. The speed limit on Lake George is 45 mph from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., 25 mph from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. and 5 mph in no wake zones and within 100 feet of docks, moorings, anchored vessels and shore (500 feet for PWCs).