On Air: NY Sea Grant Offers Small Grants Preview; Offers Boat Towing Tips
Great Lakes Boating & Marine Trades - News

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

Syracuse, NY, July 16, 2021 — The waterways of Central New York have been rocking this summer. 

But make sure you are prepared when you head out. 

Boating expert Dave White is representing two different agencies and two different topics today on Street Talk. 

White is the New York Sea Grant Coastal Recreation and Tourism Specialist, but also serves as Associate Director of the Great Lakes Research Consortium.

This information was shared during a 21+ minute long segment that aired on several 93Q programs, including Street Talk and Ted and Amy in the Morning. 93Q broadcasts on WNTQ-FM in the greater Syracuse region. 

You can listen to White's full conversation on 93Q ...

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: [00:00:03] Welcome to Street Talk, a public affairs presentation of Cumulus Media aired on our Cumulus stations in Syracuse. Street Talk is a weekly show keeping you in touch with the individuals and organizations that work for and serve our community. We're your hosts Ted and Amy. The waterways of Central New York have been rocking this summer. But make sure you're prepared when you head out. Our boating expert, Dave White is representing two different agencies and two different topics today on Street Talk. [00:00:30] He is New York Sea Grant's Coastal Recreation and tourism specialist, but also serves as associate director of the Great Lakes Research Consortium.

Speaker2: [00:00:38] You know, I'm so excited to share that we really did. And, you know, it was it was an idea I had working on that grant program, our Great Lakes Basin small grant program. We focused it on youth. We got outstanding proposals. I mean, for the review team had a really tough time. And we have selected nine proposals and they cut [00:01:00] across upstate New York, Central New York, the Great Lakes. We're going to see projects in the Finger Lakes, Adirondacks, St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Niagara River, Lake Erie. There's a really cool one right here in Central New York that, you know, as we move forward to fund these and we're we're now in the granting process. So they're not all finalized. But if we get through all the granting process so we can be one right here in Central New York that, you know, it's called the Loop Project and it's looking at the interaction between Lake Ontario, [00:01:30] Onondaga Lake and Oneida Lake because they're all in the same watershed. So, you know, the issues and activities that impact us all right here, they're all interconnected. So working with youth to really give them that connectivity that, you know, wherever you are in this watershed, you know, you looped in, so to speak. And so and you can hear it in my voice. I'm really excited to see the projects that we got submitted and the nine projects we're going to fund if it all comes to pass. Exceptional. I mean, I could not be happier with what we got.

Speaker3: [00:01:58] Well, that's amazing. And it's interesting [00:02:00] that you're talking about loops. I guess, you know, we got a press release yesterday from the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office regarding boating on the canals and the rivers and things like that and how important it is to just abide by the speed limit because, you know, people are used to the lakes and that's something different. But they all connect and they can all really cause, you know, damage and injuries and all that if you don't really look and see what you're supposed to be doing.

Speaker2: [00:02:25] Yeah. And you know what I always say to folks is that every boat operates a little differently. And, you know, there are [00:02:30] speed limits, but the real issue does then come down to your wake because that's what's going to cause erosion if you're in, you know, a nearshore area or, you know, in our great canals and rivers is that, you know, that erosive process really impacts the landowners that are along the shore. And also those waves can really impact kayakers and paddle boarders. So, you know, it's really almost happened like the rearview mirror around the boat. Be able to look back there and see, you know, what damage am I doing or what harm could I caused from my wake. And that's that's the big issue that we all want to really watch out for as [00:03:00] fellow boaters and citizens.

Speaker3: [00:03:02] Well, and we're kind of talking about some issues that you have with boats today regarding, let's say your boat breaks down. I mean, talk about towing services. Are we talking AAA or what?

Speaker2: [00:03:15] You know, AAA may come down to the business kind of thing, but, you know, it's something that we just as boaters need to be prepared for. You know, they are vehicles and they do break down. And you need to as either the owner, the captain of the boat, be prepared for that, especially in some of our larger [00:03:30] bodies of water. And, you know, first and foremost, you know, boaters are the friendliest people in the world. We all become family-friendly boaters when we are on the water. No matter how ornery I am on the land, I become a family -friendly boater when I'm out on water, you know? And so a lot of times boaters will give aid to other boaters. And I just saw that on the lake this past weekend myself with someone that was had broken down. So it is something to be thinking about in advance. What if I do break down, especially some of the larger bodies of water we have here? And first and foremost, make sure we got the lifejacket [00:04:00] on, because as soon as you break down, you're in an emergency kind of situation to determine what's going on. And, you know, if it's a medical emergency, it's 911. You know, if you have a medical accident or any of those kind of issues, comparative, you know, it's like if you're on the road, if you have a major problem, an accident, any issue, 911. But if your car breaks down, it's just like if your boat breaks down, get everybody in a life jacket and do an assessment as to can I fix it myself? You know, what's the issue? And then you need to think about, OK, how do I get everybody, including the boat, back to shore safely? [00:04:30] And that's where both towing comes in.

Speaker3: [00:04:32] Well, let's talk about that. I'm seeing the first tip that is being offered from New York Sea Grant is to have that information before you head out on the water.

Speaker2: [00:04:41] It really is. So if you're a trailer boater, you know, best thing I would suggest is, you know, do an online search for the region that you're in and you're probably going to see the TowBoat U.S., see which is part of Boat U.S. or SeaTow come up or another local group that might come up that does provide towing services. [00:05:00] Jot the number down. Have it on the boat, so it's readily accessible because also, you know, we are going to a panic mode when, you know, those kind of emergencies happen, so have it right on the boat, have it by the helm that if you have a problem, you can call one of those services, you know, or you can talk to your marina operator if you're, you know, using one of our great Marine folks here in, you know, in the Boating Industry Association area, just talk with those folks and, you know, get information from them, because even sometimes if you're in a marina, they may say, hey, call me first. Let me see what we can do to help you, because, you know, you're their customer [00:05:30] and they want to help you as well. But having that information right in front of you becomes critically important. And, you know, just so folks aren't shocked, it is not inexpensive to be towed off a body of water. It's not inexpensive to be towed with your car to the local dealer. And it is not inexpensive on the water as well. And a lot of insurance companies, you can actually get a rider on your insurance policy that will cover boat towing if you have to do that.

Speaker3: [00:05:56] Well, and I'm looking at, you know, some issues why you may need to get towed. It [00:06:00] seems like making sure before you head out your battery power, I mean, don't have to spend hundreds of dollars because you run out of your battery.

Speaker2: [00:06:09] Absolutely. And, you know, those are things we all all have to remember. You know, we go out for boating day. And I almost had this happen to me one time as well. You know, I caught it in time. You know, you're going to be out on the lake for eight hours and you're out there and you're just drifting and having a great day, especially, you know, Onondaga, Oneida, you know, some of our bigger lakes where you just pull the anchor and you just drifting for [00:06:30] the day and you got the radio on and, you know, maybe you got some other things running off, you know, the little you know, your auxiliary power. And all of a sudden it's just draining your battery because you're not running your engine, which means you've not been generating any power into it. And then all of a sudden, you know, you're at that end of that six, eight hour day and you go to turn the key and you get that infamous click, click, click, click, click. So, yeah, those are absolutely the things you have to be thinking about as to how you're boat is operating. A lot of people actually have to book two batteries on their boat and they can switch back [00:07:00] and forth and they use one strictly to start and run the boat. And the other is for whenever they're running anything auxiliary, you know, radio, fans, air conditioners, refrigerators and a lot of things on boats these days.

Speaker3: [00:07:13] And you mentioned the boat insurance. I mean, that kind of covers on and off the water. So that might be something really good to look into.

Speaker2: [00:07:20] It really is. Yeah. I mean, you know, insurance is a critical issue that people want to have, you know, and it's really no different than, you know, your car, your ATV, your RV. You know, you need to make sure you've got that [00:07:30] insurance. And you do want to think about, you know, especially depending on the insurance company you have, it, you know, might be worth that additional coverage for towing just to know that you have that. I mean, because, you know, we're talking, you know, two, three, four or five, six, seven hundred dollars potential bill to be towed off the lake. And our great friends in Blue, you know, all of our Coast Guard Auxiliary and our sheriffs and our state police and our park police, all of our good friends in Blue there, they don't hold you back. I mean, they're there to help in an [00:08:00] emergency. But, you know, if you have a mechanical problem, they're the emergency folks that are out there. They're not there on the mechanical side. So that's where it can get pretty costly. You can call 911 and what they're going to say is, well, here, we'll put you in touch with these folks that can come out until your boat in.

Speaker3: [00:08:16] Right. Now, you mention all of us, you know, being very friendly on the water. Can you tell another boat to shore or how does that work?

Speaker2: [00:08:24] Absolutely. I actually just saw it this past weekend, you know, sitting down at the lakefront myself. I [00:08:30] saw a boat that was having a mechanical problem and two of their friends came out with their jet skis and pulled them in. And you see that all the time. Growing up, the name of our boat was 'being bad.' So people back in the 70s, no what thing that was coming from from there was an old television show and we named our boat that and I swear we were pulled off the lake more often by other boaters than under our own power. So I kind of grew up knowing a lot about this aspect of it. And, you know, there are actually laws out there that protect a boater from drawing it. You know, the [00:09:00] Good Samaritan acts, you know, protect one boater if you're towing another boater in. But again, you want to make sure that everybody has an understanding of what you're doing, you know how to pull your boat. You know, you pull from your front eye. Everybody that's being towed or that is on the boat has to have their life jacket on because, you know, you're now in an emergency situation that you really need to put that in the context of your own mind. But, yeah, you know, especially on smaller lakes, you know, 90 percent of the time [00:09:30] you're probably going to have a fellow boater that will be able to pull you back because you're probably not going too far. It's when you're out on some of the bigger lakes or, you know, if somebody said, oh, you know, I broke down at Sylvan Beach, do you mind taking me back to Brewerton? They might look at you and go I'll tow you to Sylvaine Beach, but I'm not towing you back to Brewerton 20 plus miles. So, you know, just be cautious of it, but have a good plan and be thinking about it.

Speaker3: [00:09:51] Well, it sounds like the boating season is off to a great start. We've had some really good weather. And you know, people so far, I'm assuming you are seeing [00:10:00] a lot of boats that are. Having an enjoyable time?

Speaker2: [00:10:03] Oh, absolutely. I mean, we are in for another just absolutely wonderful boating year. And, you know, I'm one of those people that because of where we live, this is the opportunity we should be taking advantage of. We have such great winter recreation and we have such great summer recreation, boating, camping, touring, you know, and now we're getting a lot of the you know, the you know, I get all excited because I sell these new opportunities. I mean, and we got the rails to trails where people are, you know, put in a little rail carts [00:10:30] on the you can go to. So we have just a wealth of opportunity and boating is one of them. And everybody can be in boating because you now have a paddleboard, kayak. I mean, you hear me talk about that before. So I see another great boating season in front of us. And yet for a lot of the folks I work with, it's their business. But they're the same way. Yeah. They smile as a business person, but they're also smiling to say this is what living in upstate New York and having these great resources, where can you go that, you know, that has a canal [00:11:00] like we have with the Erie Canal that has the bodies of water? Onondaga Lake, Oneida Lake, Lake Ontario, the connected bodies of water, the Finger Lakes. You cannot find the state that has what we have in so many times. We don't take advantage of it. So I love seeing people out there enjoying it. And it's such a family-friendly and friend-friendly, getting everybody out there on the boat and just having a good time.

Speaker3: [00:11:25] We just shared a national survey this morning that [00:11:30] listed New York as the number one state in the country for taking road trips, you know, kind of just day road trips, because you're right, you don't have to go too far anywhere in the state. So something very much to be proud of.

Speaker2: [00:11:44] It really is. Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, there are many people that would complain about New York, but you cannot complain about the recreation resources and the natural wonders that we have in New York. You cannot, because if you do, I'm just going to say then move because you will not find it any place else. [00:12:00]

Speaker3: [00:12:01] Well, David, we're going to change your title here, because you're also serving as associate director of the Great Lakes Research Consortium. And we you know, among the water issues, we have so many positive ones, but negative ones, too. And that's kind of what we're going to talk about with the toxic algal blooms and and the research regarding that.

Speaker2: [00:12:22] Yeah, the Great Lakes Research Consortium is the consortium of 18 colleges and universities, both here in New York and Canadian [00:12:30] affiliates. And it really brings all of our research, you know, members together that are working on Great Lakes, Finger Lakes and water based issues together to really, you know, work across universities, work across their own academic pursuit to really look at these Great Lakes issues that can become very complex and multidisciplinary. So the research consortium provides that opportunity. In Central New York area, we're talking about, you know, the Finger Lakes Institute in Hobart, William Smith, we're [00:13:00] talking about Syracuse University, you know, the SUNY ESF, our great environmental science and forestry college, SUNY Oswego, you know, and then up on to the river with, you know, Clarkson, our other partners going over towards RIT with the engineering school. So it covers the entire Great Lakes area, including a lot of our Finger Lakes and our even Lake Champlain partners work with us as part of the research consortium because, again, you're bringing all of those water resource opportunities to bear. You know what I always talk about is, you know, we have a lot of these issues and they have [00:13:30] to be really looked at closely. So they may be looking at a problem when it comes to harmful algal blooms. But when they're done, they're giving us the solutions of how do we better handle them, how do we better understand them, how do we prevent them? So without the research base that gives us all that good information, you know, we would be in a lot more trouble. So I look at research that they're looking at, you know, issues of concern that provide us opportunity for growth and development.

Speaker3: [00:13:55] You know, it's interesting, though, because both of us grew up in this area. And I mean, we had a camp [00:14:00] up on Lake Ontario ourselves and there was always algae. It just seems like within the last 10, 20 years, there have been toxic algal blooms. You know what I mean? Is this something that's always been an issue or it's changed throughout the years?

Speaker2: [00:14:13] Yeah, it's both. And, you know, again, I always try, you know, try to remind people of, you know, as we've all grown as a society and citizens, our use of our bodies of water, the interaction we have with them has changed. And we have to take that into context. [00:14:30] So, you know, are we contributing more pollutants to the body of water? Have we changed our boating practice? Have we changed our land practice? And the answer at all, what was it? Yes. And those those have an impact on all of our all of our natural resources, whether the land based or water based. So we have to take all of that into account. And, you know, many people will say, oh, I like the good old days. And you have to ask everybody, well, what's the good old days in your eyes? Because for you and I, it might be a few years ago for the younger generation, [00:15:00] it might not be as many years ago that they might say, oh, I remember, you know, you live in here, you know, the 25 year old oh, I remember when. So we also have a different context of time.

Speaker2: [00:15:09] And so, yeah, I mean, algal blooms have been around. I mean, bodies of water have algae, bodies of water have aquatic weeds. We've had invasive species come in. So we want to manage for those. But, you know, I deal with a lot of folks and they're like, oh, all these weeds in the lake, it's like, well, they need to be there for the fish. And if you like to fish, you want to have a good [00:15:30] weed bed and a good weed population. It's just how do we manage that for the multiple use? So we want to be able to both ski and fish and do all these things. But we have to always remember the natural environment that's there is what has drawn us into it. So we want to make sure we're maintaining that at the same time where we're providing the opportunity for our safe and beneficial uses of those bodies of water. And that's what the research community comes in to help us really understand what causes a harmful algal bloom or, you [00:16:00] know, what will the net impact of an invasive species be that might be coming into a body of water or region?

Speaker3: [00:16:05] Now, I'm also seeing that there's five projects that recently received some funding, and this is different from the youth funding that we had just started off the interview with, right?

Speaker2: [00:16:15] Yeah, these they're both in partnership with the DEC. This these projects are from universities and they're really a opportunity for a small grant to fund a research program to get it started, to beginning to think about, you know, what [00:16:30] we need to do. Many of these then result in, you know, the projects that we hear that, you know, are being funded by the National Science Foundation or they're being funded by the EPA or Fish and Wildlife Service. But it gives the opportunity for folks to kind of get out there with these smaller grants, build some coalitions amongst the research community, across the universities, and really kind of fine tune what they may want to do. I use this as a great example, as a project funded one time because it's very humorous to me, but it also answers some great questions. We had a project with the university [00:17:00] that wanted to look at the use of drones for looking at submerged aquatic vegetation and harmful vegetation. So they wanted to be able to utilize a drone to begin to do some surveys and assessments, which is a great use of the technology. So they went out, they launched it from the boat. This is like seven or eight years ago when drones were just coming on the scene.

Speaker2: [00:17:20] So they were having an issue and a drone is programmed to go home. So while the drone was flying, the boat moved. So when the drone started to have an issue, it decided to go home. [00:17:30] But home is a coordinate, so sitting on the boat, they then watched the drone fly back to where they were and just go right into the water and sink 14 feet into the water. Oh, no. Oh, no. But great learning experience that, you know, you need to reprogram it. And that's how we learn. And that's what you know, it's a funny story. They were able to recover the drone. They were able to, you know, get it fixed and repaired. But they were able to learn that, you know, OK, you know, if we're going to begin to use these new technologies, how do we utilize them? So a small grant [00:18:00] provides the universities an opportunity to think this through. Get a good team together get some baseline data, you know, whether it be on some of our newer technologies and we love when we're funding some of these newer technologies that are going to help us better understand our environment, our impact on it, and how we can develop those opportunities for growth.

Speaker3: [00:18:18] And I'm seeing you're working with SUNY ESF, Clarkson, Binghamton, Hobart and William Smith, Seneca Watershed. I mean, all of them with different projects that have received some funding. And so it looks like, yeah, a wide [00:18:30] range of different research topics are being targeted.

Speaker2: [00:18:34] They really are. And if you if you delve down further, because part of the program that we run with the research consortium is it's a requirement that you collaborate with other universities, you know, so it's one of the things we also try to do is try to give, you know, those funds to new investigators, you know, new faculty that are coming, working with students. They all work with undergraduate or graduate students. So it's you know, we really I mean, these are small grants. These are $25,000 or less. And [00:19:00] we really try to push those dollars to be thinking about, you know, let's get our next you know, our next set of researchers engaged with the undergraduate or graduate students. Let's be starting to look at some some of the emerging topics that we need to get some better understanding of the new invasive species, some new technologies that are coming in, and again, that will grow their research programs to really help us solve some of these problems that, you know, we know we're coming down, you know, and how do we help prevent them? How do we help mitigate them? How do we control from [00:19:30] them? You know, to me, it's an exciting program because, you know, again, we're we're engaging the youth at a different level, at the university level, helping them better understand it. So, you know, there are leaders of tomorrow and the more information they have to help us deal with these issues long term, the much better off we are to have, as we started the conversation earlier, to have those great boating days, you're out on that boat in your position, you want to have a good environment below you. If you're skiing, tubing or whatever you might be doing, you want to have a good environment on the surface [00:20:00] and, you know, it all wraps around together when we begin to think about this, you know, we want to ensure all that, not for ourselves, but obviously for generations to come.

Speaker3: [00:20:08] Well, David, as always, an amazing interview. Anything that I'm not asking you about that you want to talk about.

Speaker2: [00:20:13] No, it is always great to talk to you and, you know, appreciate what you guys do to help us get this information out, because, you know, as though we love the environment around us and want to utilize the environment around us in a good sound, sustainable way. You know, it's great to have these conversations [00:20:30] about the research that we do, about the recreation that we have and just have a great summer and take advantage of the opportunities we have in New York because they are the best in the country.

Speaker1: [00:20:40] See more at NYSeaGrant.org. Well, that's it for this week's edition of Street Talk. If you have an issue to discuss or an event or nonprofit organization to promote or to find out more information about something you've heard on this past week's programs, call us at (315) 472-0200 or [00:21:00] email Amy.Robbins@cumulous.com. For events, please allow two weeks in advance. Straight Talk has been a public affairs presentation of Cumulus Media. We're Ted and Amy, thank you for joining us each week

[00:21:11] Here on Street Talk.

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