Boating in NY in 2020: Top 10 Safety Reminders, New Resources
Great Lakes Boating & Marine Trades - Press Release


Dave White, New York Sea Grant Coastal Recreation and Tourism Specialist, E:, P: 315-312-3042

Mary Austerman, NYSG Great Lakes Coastal Community Development Specialist, E:, P: 315-312-3042

Kara Lynn Dunn, Great Lakes Freelance Publicist, NYSG, E:, P: 315-465-7578 

Oswego, NY, April 23, 2020 - In mid-April, with boating opportunities opening up with some restrictions related to marina operations, social distancing, and sanitization, the Empire State Marine Trades Association, Boating Industry Association of Upstate New York, and New York Sea Grant are providing resources to encourage people to boat in a socially responsible way.

Boaters should be watchful for additional restrictions or new closures and should follow CDC and New York State guidelines or restrictions for community safety. Call ahead to see if your local boating destination is open. Do not use closed or crowded areas. If you are not feeling well or show any sign of illness or symptoms, stay home.

New York Sea Grant Discover Clean and Safe Boating educational vessel with required and recommended equipment for boating on NY waters, Credit: New York Sea Grant.

New York Sea Grant is reminding people of 10 tips to follow healthy, clean, safe and environmentally-friendly practices while socially distancing on boats at this time: 

• Observe social distancing and disinfecting standards aboard your boat. Do not share paddles or any hand-held safety, recreational, angling or other equipment. 

• File a float plan so someone onshore knows when and where you are going and when you are expected back. Call ahead to be sure your boat launch or marina destination is open.

• Know the rules of navigation. Brianna's Law will require all motorboat operators to complete a boating safety course; new age requirements began January 1, 2020. Online classes are available.

• Properly equip your vessel, be it a motorized boat, paddleboard, canoe, kayak. . . Check that all gear is working or up-to-date, e.g., lights, horn, fire extinguishers, flares, batteries, signal flags, first-aid kit, etc.

• Have and wear an approved life vest, preferably with a bright color that would be easily seen by emergency personnel.

• Check and assure weather and water conditions are safe before leaving, and check while on the water for any approaching weather system. Sites for information include and

• Have a properly-working means of communication, including a whistle, in case of emergency.

• Practice environmentally-responsible boating. Use a new bilge sock and fuel nozzle bib to prevent spills. 

• Practice Clean, Drain, Dry before and after entering the water to limit the spread of aquatic invasive species. 

• For Watercraft Inspection Program leaders, New York Sea Grant has enhanced access to new and standardized watercraft inspection program management tools on the redesigned New York State Invasive Species Clearinghouse website at

Cruising the Oswego River, Credit: Oswego County Tourism.

Links to New York State and marine industry guidance for safety and using boat launches, fishing-by-boat access sites, and marinas include:

Discover Boating: Boating During COVID-19
  Navigating Local Restrictions & Safe Social Distancing

Empire State Marine Trades Association
Boating Industries Association of Upstate New York
New York State DEC Boating and Paddling
NYS Parks Marine Services Bureau
New York Sea Grant: Great Lakes Boating & Marine Trades

Resources on offer the following points for attention:

• Limit the people aboard to only those in your immediate household; no guests
• No beaching your boat right next to someone else
• Maintain distance at dock, when fueling, and on the water
• Wash hands or use hand sanitizer after handling marina gates or fuel pump
• No rafting up with other boats or pulling up on beach next to other boats
• Go right from your house to the boat and back, no unnecessary contact.
• Boat responsibly. 

Marina on Lake George, Credit: Lake George Association.

More Info:
New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 34 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University in Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly. Our program also produces an occasional e-newsletter,"NOAA Sea Grant's Social Media Review," via its blog,

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