Lake life offers recreation, leisure and relaxation for residents and visitors alike. Conscientious and courteous behavior as well as compliance with state and federal marine laws and regulations allow for a safer and more enjoyable experience for all.
In 2016, a family from California was visiting Lake George. The visit ended abruptly when one boat collided with another resulting in the death of a young child and grievous injury to the mother. Ballston Lake is not immune to such incidents and there have been fatalities on the lake in the past.
It seems that the number of dangerous activity reports on the water increase every year. This year included the collision of two jet skis and a kayaker that was nearly broadsided by a speedboat. In addition, there have been countless reports of risky behavior ranging from:
- Skiing and tubing with no “spotters” (this seems to be a daily occurrence)
- Near-misses between powered watercraft, swimmers, and non-powered watercraft
- Skiing, tubing, or jet skiing between the hours of sunset and sunrise (Kayakers must be equipped with lights at night and are encouraged to wear reflective clothing)
- Passengers sitting on the front edge of a moving pontoon boat (even at 5mph, there is not enough reaction time for the driver to stop the propeller if a personal falls off the front of the boat and is channeled between the pontoons toward the propeller
- Water skiing between the marked buoys at “The Narrows”
- Jet skiing across the wake of the power boat. Especially egregious for a jet-skier to ride in the wake of a boat that is wakeboarding or skiing. If that skier falls they would be run over by the jet ski.
- Not reducing speed to 5 mph (no wake) when coming within 100 feet from shore, swimming, other boats and docks.
Fun and excitement can quickly turn to tragedy and grief in the wake of an accident or death.
So, be safe and keep others safe! If you or your children do not have your boater’s license you can take a FREE online course to obtain a boater’s license. ALL NY Jet Ski operators are required to have a boating license, regardless of age. There are no traffic signs and signals on the water, no yellow or white lines to guide you or the boat that is bearing down on you at high speed! Make the best of a bad-weather day, go online and get your boating license.
Boater certification courses that qualify you for your boating license include (but not limited to):
- Operation of different types of watercraft
- Boating regulations
- Navigational rules and regulations
- Water safety requirements
- Safety equipment requirements for different types of watercraft
There are fines and penalties for unsafe boating, lack of requirement watercraft safety gear and operating a watercraft without the proper license and registration. It is the liability of the owner of the watercraft should an incident occur. So be sure that your children and guests know the rules. Have fun, be safe, spend your money on something other than fines and enjoy this beautiful resource that is “home” for many of us.