On Air: Life Jackets Must be Worn Starting November 1st; NYSG Celebrates 50th Anniversary
Great Lakes Boating & Marine Trades - News

Dave White, New York Sea Grant, Recreation and Tourism Specialist, P: 315-312- 3042, E: dgw9@cornell.edu

Geneva, NY, Nov 1, 2021 - Today’s the day the life jacket requirement for boaters changes each year. 

Dave White, the Recreation and Tourism Specialist with New York Sea Grant, called in to Finger Lakes Daily News to discuss the annual requirement, which runs through May 1st.

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You can listen to White's full conversation on Finger Lakes Radio ...

If you don't see the player above, it's because you're using a non-Flash device (eg, iPhone or iPad). You can download the mp3 file by clicking here (mp3). It may take a few minutes to download, so please be patient.

Full Transcript: 

Speaker1: [00:00:01] Good morning, 8:17 Finger Lakes Morning News. And we're zooming with Dave White from New York Sea Grant. He is the Coastal Recreation and tourism specialist. Dave, good morning.

Speaker2: [00:00:10] Good morning, Ted. How are you today?

Speaker1: [00:00:12] I'm doing well. We're heading into cold weather time, November 1st. And that means a change in the requirements in terms of wearing a life jacket. Tell us what takes effect November 1st.

Speaker2: [00:00:21] It does. It's not a new law, but it's one we always like to remind folks about, because here in the Finger Lakes, we are about boating. And it's been a great fall [00:00:30] and I think folks are going to continue to be out on the water. So starting November 1st, the day after Halloween. Not only do you have to have a life jacket on board for everybody, but everybody on a boat has to wear a life jacket. The water is going to start getting colder. We could still have some great fall days, but it really is to help people protect themselves and other people on the boat with them. So you have to have your lifejacket on and securely fastened whenever you're out on our great Finger Lakes waterways.

Speaker1: [00:00:56] Yeah, I'm a kayaker and I've been saying for a long time I just started [00:01:00] wearing mine all the time anyway. And I really think it's a good idea.

Speaker2: [00:01:04] It really is. I'm a kayaker as well. And the thing when I do an in water demonstration, I always show folks because so many kayakers or paddle boarders will secure their life jacket to it, you know, by the bunches that are in the front or back. And if you fall overboard automatically, the kayak or paddle board floats away from you and it has your life jacket on it. So I think it's a great idea. You can actually, for folks that don't know, you can get a life jacket that is [00:01:30] designed in the back to fit the seat of a kayak. So there's actually life jackets specifically designed to wear on a kayak to make it more comfortable for folks. And I do the same thing. You know, I wear it whenever I go out. But definitely now as we get into this fall season, it's going to be beautiful weather, great opportunity, but also there's fewer boaters out there. So if you're out kayaking, paddle boarding, out, enjoying fishing or hunting, whatever you might be doing on the water, there's fewer boats so that if you do fall in, not as many folks out [00:02:00] there to yell you. So also having a good communication plan, letting somebody know the old float plan concept, let them know when you're going, where you're going and when you plan to come back again just for everybody's safety and security.

Speaker1: [00:02:11] I knew about the November 1st requirement. I didn't know that a boat 16 feet or longer, you have to have a throw able flotation device in case you come across a situation where you have to toss one out to someone.

Speaker2: [00:02:23] Yeah, you know, motorized boats, that's really always been the case. You know, back in the day, you're probably a little younger than I [00:02:30] am, Ted, but, you know, back in the day, that's all you really used on a canoe was the cushion. So the laws have changed over time and it's just always good to be checking on that. You know, your local Coast Guard auxiliary or power squadron, you know, go online to our friends at New York State Parks and they'll give you all the updated regulations because they do change over time, you know, just to help us all be safe around the water.

Speaker1: [00:02:51] Let's talk about buying a boat we're getting toward off season time. Is this a good time to at least start the shopping process?

Speaker2: [00:02:59] Yeah you know, it really [00:03:00] is. You know, as I say to a lot of folks, you know, think about what you would want a boat to do. That's the first thing you have to do is kind of a family inventory, you know. And as a kayaker, I'll use you as an example, you know, when you're going to buy, when you have to think, do I want a two person kayak, just one, do I want to be able to fish off of it? So maybe I want one of the really cool ones that got, you know, the fishing pole holder on it and a place to put my gear. So you really need to do an inventory of what the family is going to use the boat for. Now is a great time to talk to all of our local great dealers we have [00:03:30] here in the Finger Lakes from either the Rochester Marine Trade Association, the Boating Industry Association, and share with them about what your needs are, because if you want a new one, now is going to be the time to be thinking about getting that on order for next year. Or if you want a used one, now's a great time to tell your local boat supplier. This is the kind of boat I'm looking for because over winter they can be looking for that boat as it comes in on a trade or if they're brokering for somebody, they can give you a call and go, Hey, I just found that 21 open cuddy that you're looking for, [00:04:00] you know, let's take a look at it. So you're really it's an opportunity to to get with your local dealer and really get that process started.

Speaker1: [00:04:06] It's hard to have a conversation with anybody these days. It doesn't involve COVID. So what is the COVID effect on boating inventories? We've heard about new car shortages that that trickle down to used car shortages. So how about with boats?

Speaker2: [00:04:19] It's the same thing. I mean, the supply shortage, it's a supply and demand issue. A lot of folks during COVID boating is the a family friendly, COVID friendly activity [00:04:30] in reality. So we saw many people last year get into boating. So we welcomed a lot of new members to the boating family because of that, you know, they went through a lot of inventory last year. So again, the supply side is really trying to keep up with that great demand. And also there's shortages of product coming along. So that's where thinking about now, if you want that boat for spring, now is the time to be thinking about it. You know, getting with your local dealer, doing some searches online to really think about what you want because that that [00:05:00] not only impacted boating, it also impacted boating supply. So now's a great time to also be thinking about do I need new equipment on the boat? Maybe I want to get a float coat or a float suit for this winter boating that I'm doing when I'm out on the kayak. It's a coat or basically a pair of coveralls that have a life jacket built into it. Now's a good time to be thinking about that stuff because it's great Christmas gifts for the boater and the family.

Speaker1: [00:05:23] Talking with Dave White from New York Sea Grant now toward winter and then toward spring, we start to see a lot of boat shows. Is [00:05:30] that a good venue to do some shopping?

Speaker2: [00:05:34] It would be. And you'll be the first one. I've actually said this to most boat shows will not be occurring in the spring. It's really sad. It is a product of our time, but again, they don't have a lot of inventory. So, you know, we're looking at working with the boating industry folks to talk about other type of events for boaters, maybe some boating lifestyle events to keep keep the excitement going through the winter about boating. Talking about some of the accessories. [00:06:00] So we're looking at other options, but it's looking right now that many of the boat shows may not occur, which, again, you know, let's get out there, folks. Now's the time to be talking with the dealers so that they are in front of it, because come next April, your choices are going to be much more limited than if you get to that dealer now.

Speaker1: [00:06:18] And of course, the earlier you start, if you start at least talking about it now, like you say, draw up your game plan, your your wants and needs. Then you can start working on it. And like you say, someone might not have it right now, but if you wait long [00:06:30] enough, maybe next April they will.

Speaker2: [00:06:32] Yeah. And I think the used market, I think is going to be huge going forward because a lot of folks got into boating that, you know, maybe they decided it wasn't for them or, you know, they're going back to some of their more traditional activities that they were doing. So the used boat market could be a real opportunity for folks and also always remind people if you're getting into the used boat market, just like buying a used car, you want to have a local dealer check it out. If you're buying from a private person, you [00:07:00] also want to check the trailer. You know, there's so many things that, you know, we get so excited about boating. You want to remember the trailer as well, having the tires checked, the tongue, the electronics. So you've got to look at the whole package to make sure it's all there is. The boat coming with equipment. If not, you're going to have to purchase that equipment separate. So a lot of things that come into play, but it's also the excitement about family boating is you can do it all as a family. You can do those online searches, go to the dealership with the family, sit on a boat. How's the family feel on it? It's got the seating right [00:07:30] for you. You can just have a ton of fun actually shopping for a boat.

Speaker1: [00:07:34] We go to camp in northern New Hampshire every Sunday and one of our family who lets us use their camp has about a 30 footer pontoon boat or those pontoon boats getting more popular.

Speaker2: [00:07:43] Oh, you can't go to a lake, I mean, the lake that I'm on in the Finger Lakes, it's the pontoon is the boat to have. The reason being is it provides all of those family things that we talk about when you do that inventory. So if you want to sunbathe on it, I want to be laying out on it. I want [00:08:00] to fish off. I don't want to ski off it. I want a tube off it. That's where pontoons have really become a mainstay for a lot of folks because it fits a lot of that family inventory of things that you want to do. So, you know, pontoons are really popular now. We're seeing the tri tunes, which is the three tunes underneath the pontoon for more stability. We're seeing bigger engines come out on them. So it's really become the family friendly boat. And we have a lot of great pontoon dealers right here in the Finger Lakes that, you know, we'd love to have folks come [00:08:30] into the showroom, you know, sit down on that boat. And the nice thing about Pontoon is if you order it, you can order many different floorplans on it that will fit your family needs.

Speaker1: [00:08:39] Well, I was just thinking about this too. You mentioned all the different marinas is you can always rent if you're not quite sure you want to narrow your choices. Go rent what you're considering buying.

Speaker2: [00:08:49] Yeah, you are you are right on today with you on leading it along because you're absolutely right. That is a great opportunity for folks to go down, rent a boat similar to what they're thinking about getting. [00:09:00] You know, it's kind of like renting a car. A lot of folks will go rent a car. Yeah. And then that'll help them decide what car to buy. It is the same with boating and for folks that just want to do it occasionally, you know, renting a boat. And again, several of the dealers here in the area are getting much more into rentals, either from pontoon paddle board right up on through to power boat and veeho boats planing hulls. So whatever you might be looking for renting on an occasional basis or renting to think about what you want, might want to buy is just a great idea.

Speaker1: [00:09:29] Look for the Boating [00:09:30] Industries Association of upstate New York. They're on Facebook. The Empire State Marine Trades Association is at ESMTA.com and New York Sea Grant is nyseagrant.org. They do a number of things that we're learning about in these conversations. Dave, thanks. Appreciate the time.

Speaker2: [00:09:47] All righty. And just one last thing is this month starts the celebration of New York Sea Grant’s 50th anniversary. So New York Sea Grant's been around 50 years. We look forward to the next 50 helping as we say it, to help bring people bringing [00:10:00] science to the shore on all of our coasts and on all these issues.

You can also listen to a shorter segment of White's conversation on Finger Lakes Radio ...

If you don't see the player above, it's because you're using a non-Flash device (eg, iPhone or iPad). You can download the mp3 file by clicking here (mp3). It may take a few minutes to download, so please be patient.

Full Transcript: 

Speaker1: [00:00:00] Not only do you have to have a life jacket on board for everybody, but everybody on a boat has to wear a life jacket. The water is going to start getting colder. We could still have some great fall days, but it really is to help people protect themselves and other people on the boat with them.

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: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/nycoastlines for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly.

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