State to deploy 20 watercraft & 42 law enforcement personnel to support enforcement efforts
Local municipalities empowered to fine recreational boaters up to $250 for exceeding 5 mph speed limit within 600 feet of shore
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced ramped-up efforts to enforce no wake zones along the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shoreline this weekend. Multiple state agencies are deploying additional resources to assist with local enforcement efforts, including a total of 20 watercraft and 42 law enforcement officers from the Department of Environmental Conservation, Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Division of Military and Naval Affairs, and State Police. As part of ongoing enforcement efforts, local municipalities may issue tickets carrying fines of up to $250 per infraction to recreational boaters violating the 5 mph speed limit within 600 feet of shore, which was announced by the governor in May.
The state has also launched a multimedia outreach campaign to ensure boaters are aware of and abiding by the speed limit.
"With high water levels along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, it is critical that we support local enforcement efforts and ensure boaters are aware of speed limits in place," Cuomo said. "With the deployment of these additional resources and personnel, New York is working with local communities to protect flood-affected homes, businesses and infrastructure along the shoreline as best we can. I encourage everyone to take precautions while on the water, follow the rules and remain safe."
On May 29, the governor directed
the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to implement a 5-mile-per-hour speed limit to control wakes within 600 feet of the Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River shoreline to reduce impacts to residences and infrastructure caused by wave action and to promote safe boating.
Under normal conditions, boaters are required to obey the 5-mile-per-hour speed limit within 100 feet of shore. With the current state of emergency in the region, and as water levels remain elevated throughout the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River system, the governor directed State Parks to institute the expanded speed restriction, which remains in effect.
Waves created by boat wakes can exacerbate shoreline erosion, further threatening residential and municipal infrastructure. Reduced speeds result in reduced boat wakes and lessen the wave action along the shore. Reduced speeds are also necessary to ensure safe boating, as many hidden hazards and debris have been covered by elevated water levels and can threaten boaters.
Multimedia Outreach Campaign
The governor also announced the launch of a multimedia outreach campaign to ensure both local and visiting boaters are aware of safe boating practices and the speed limits in place. State agencies are working with local municipalities to educate boaters, and have positioned a total of 10 digital message boards at strategic locations throughout the region, and will also be distributing information at boat launches and marinas. Additional outreach efforts include text alerts through the NY Alert system, and public service announcements via radio and social media.
Cuomo is also providing more than $20 million in funding to assist homeowners, small businesses and local governments that have been impacted by flooding along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Last week, the governor and Legislature reached an agreement that will expand program eligibility and increase the total amount of assistance to $45 million, and also provide up to $10 million in assistance for certain counties impacted by past extreme weather events. To learn more and to apply, visit www.ny.gov/programs/lake-ontario-relief-and-recovery
Additionally, the governor committed approximately $1 million in expedited funding to conduct emergency repairs and upgrades to flood-impacted wastewater treatment systems. The governor has also signed legislation amending the Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 to provide emergency financial assistance for municipalities to be available immediately. The amended legislation removes a 120-day waiting period, allowing municipalities across the state to access emergency loans.
Emergency Response Mobile Command Centers
To continue the state's efforts in helping communities recover from flooding, the state emergency response mobile command centers continue to offer weekend hours throughout the summer. In addition, those who are not able to visit the emergency response mobile command center can call the Lake Ontario flood assistance hotline at 1-866-244-3839, from 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. each day, for help with insurance-related issues, assistance with flood mitigation measures such as sandbags, and for technical guidance regarding on-site repairs to their property. To date, the state has assisted more than 2,000 individuals at the mobile command centers, fielded more than 1,900 calls through the hotline, and DEC has issued more than 900 permits and emergency authorizations.
Over the next week, mobile command centers will be at the following locations:
- Wednesday, July 5
- Niagara - Town of Newfane
- Olcott Fire Co., 1691 Lockport-Olcott Road
The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services' Office of Emergency Management is working with county and local partners to monitor water levels of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Additional resources from other state stockpiles have been shifted to locations in Monroe County to prepare for worsening conditions. To date, approximately 2,100 feet of temporary dams in seven locations, and almost 1.6 million sandbags and 11 sandbaggers - at least one for each county - along with 166 pumps of various sizes with associated hoses, have been deployed to affected communities to help mitigate flooding to impacted counties.
Currently, Lake Ontario is 31 inches above its level of one year ago and, while these levels are not anticipated to increase in the near future, forecasters expect it will take many weeks for water levels to normalize.
All New Yorkers are encouraged to sign up for NY-Alert, the state's free, all hazards subscription-based alerting system. For more information or to register, visit www.nyalert.gov
. For information on flood safety, visit the DHSES website at www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/safety-info/flood
. For more information on the storm recovery permit, visit the DEC website. Details of the general permit and instructions for applicants can be found at www.dec.ny.gov/permits/89343.html