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State Parks reminds boaters to be cautious of early spring cold water


Thu, Mar 28th 2024 06:30 pm

OPRHP cautions preseason boaters of water temperatures for those viewing eclipse

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation reminds boaters of the dangers of cold water if venturing out this spring for recreation or to view the rare total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8. OPRHP recommends to boaters and paddlers that, even in the first few weeks of spring, the water is still very cold, and precautions should be taken.

“Even though the calendar has turned to spring, we recommend you protect yourself as the temperature fluctuates during the day, night and on our waterways,” said State Parks Commissioner Pro Tempore Randy Simons. “Our top priority is ensuring that New Yorkers and visitors are safe. Please wear a life jacket, insulated clothing, and, for the solar eclipse, make sure to protect your eyes. Our park personnel are welcoming visitors from near and far and want it to be safe and memorable.”

State parks and historic sites is hosting a range of events and activities to celebrate the rare total solar eclipse. All campsites that opened early along the path of totality have been filled. However, those patrons who may head to parks or onto bodies of water to experience the eclipse need to be aware as well.

“With spring beginning and the excitement of the eclipse, it can be easy to forget the unforgivable nature of the cold water,” said OPRHP Director of Marine and Recreational Services Alexi Howland. “Please make a few adjustments to your planning. We look forward to celebrating with you and having a safe and enjoyable day.”

OPRHP reminds park patrons to please keep in mind the following for safe boating:

√ Research the weather and water conditions before you go. Dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature

√ Dress in layers and avoid wearing cotton

√ If you are on or near the water, wear your life jacket

√ If you are going out on a boat that is less than 21 feet in length, you must wear a lifejacket, regardless of age (applicable between Nov. 1 and May 1)

√ As always, use the buddy system – make sure someone knows your plans for the day

√ Carry your cell phone in a waterproof bag, bring a light, whistle or other sound-producing device

√ Protect your eyes with specialized viewing glasses

Additionally, in 2024, all operators of motorized vessels born on or after Jan. 1, 1978, need to carry a safe boating certificate while operating motorized vessels, including personal watercraft. Starting Jan. 1, 2025, a safety certificate will be required of all operators, regardless of age. Both in-person and online options are available for earning a certificate. To learn more, visit: https://parks.ny.gov/boating/education.aspx.

OPRHP oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses and boat launches, which saw a record 84 million visits in 2023. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit parks.ny.gov, download the free NY State Parks Explorer app, or call 518-474-0456. Join in celebrating the parks centennial throughout 2024, and connect on FacebookInstagramX (formerly Twitter) and the OPRHP blog.

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