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On Air: Sea Grant's Tips on COVID-, Family- and Friend-Friendly Winter Activities
Great Lakes Boating & Marine Trades - News

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

Oswego, NY, November 17, 2020 - New York Sea Grant (NYSG) Coastal Recreation and Tourism Specialist Dave White talks on Finger Lakes Radio about outdoor recreation this winter that meets COVID-19 safety guidelines. 

"When we talk about winter recreation, a lot of the activities we do are a part of the 'over, under, around or through water'" mantra, says White.

"And any time you're going to get in any kind of recreational vehicle, snowmobile, ATV, three wheeler, boat, you know, they all have safety courses with them. You can take them online, especially now during COVID."

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

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Full Transcript:

[00:00:04] Good morning.

[00:00:05] It is 7:50 am on this Tuesday morning and Kevin Williamson saying there is some snow in the forecast and apparently some already falling in the higher elevations and rather appropriate. Of course, it is mid-November. But here to talk about winter sports is our good friend from the New York Sea Grant, their coastal recreation [00:00:30] and tourism specialist, our good friend, Dave White. Dave, welcome back to the show.

[00:00:34] Always great to be with you, Steve.

[00:00:35] Good morning. Always great to have you. And yeah, we got a little bit of rain here in the Auburn area, but probably a blizzard up on Tug Hill. But, you know, if you're a winter sports enthusiast, especially those of you who like to get out on a snow machine or get out on a frozen and I emphasize the word frozen lake [00:01:00] to do some ice fishing, why would you want to do that? But anyway, I digress. But it's important to be prepared, obviously. And, you know, we always are concerned, even those of us who were skiers, about hypothermia.

[00:01:20] Now, you've got to be concerned about COVID-19 as well.

[00:01:25] You do, and as you started talking and I'm sitting here looking out my window, believe [00:01:30] it or not, it is starting to snow you. 

[00:01:33] You always manage to paint the picture. I know the last time you were talking about the fact that it was a beautiful day to get your boat out on the water when we were talking about putting the boat away. 

[00:01:42] Today is going to be a beautiful day to make sure you get the snowmobile up and running, get the wax on the skis.

[00:01:48] As I was getting ready for this this morning, all I could think of was the old term over, [00:02:00] under, around and through, which is how many of us I will I won't date it. But many of us learned how to tie your shoe that way. That's kind of today's discussion is over, under, around and through when it comes to water, whether you are over the water, maybe in a boat, open water, kayak, canoeing, maybe fishing, maybe in a drift boat, you don't want to be under it, which is one of the problems we want to talk about is being under it. You're around it. You're near the shore. You [00:02:30] may be in a reservoir area or something or you've gone through the ice. And so when we talk about winter recreation, a lot of the activities we do are a part of that. They're over, under, around or through water. And we do have to take special precautions when we're doing that. Snowmobiling, a lot of folks drive over open lakes and rivers, ice fishing. These are really popular winter sports. And I think this year, like we saw with summer recreation, I think we're going to see an increase in people [00:03:00] taking advantage of all these great resources we have. I think we're going to see an increase in them because these are great for a COVID-friendly, family-friendly and friend-friendly activities to participate in. So, again, we have to start thinking about those safety precautions we have to take. Staying warm, staying dry and having the right gear with us whenever we do any of these activities.

[00:03:24] And of course, there is a growing popularity because [00:03:30] of the types of protection you can wear for folks to do like kiteboarding and things like that, even, you know, in the early parts of winter before the lakes freeze up.

[00:03:41] Oh, absolutely. And then you can start to add an ice sailing. I mean, so for those that are more the extremist, which I think from our description is not you and I, for extreme recreation, when you start to add those folks in, it can certainly be the same thing. So that's when we start to talk about it's a great time of year if people are thinking about Christmas gifts and doing [00:04:00] their online shopping float coats and float suits. And what these are, they look like a ski jacket or they look like a snowmobile suit, but built into them, you actually have basically a life jacket. They are rated by the Coast Guard. So you can you're buying basically a type five. And what it does is if you do fall into the water, whether you're ice, whether you've gone through on a snowmobile, whether you're doing open water, kayak, canoeing, any one of these activities, you know, [00:04:30] these are usually bright color. And if you do go in, they will float you up. So you're not wearing a coat and a life jacket. You don't have the bulk of it because it's designed all the way down into the sleeves, into the leg. They have straps on them so you can actually strap them close tight so that any water that gets in will quickly heat up your body temperature. So, again, these are the kind of safety gear that's out there that we talk about for boating in spring and fall. But they are absolutely great for winter recreation [00:05:00] and our things people need to start thinking about now to get them to be prepared for it, but also to be planning that into their the recreation, especially as we welcome a lot of new recreation into our winter recreation.

[00:05:13] And of course, there are state laws that are designed to protect you against weather, as you said, whether it's summer or or winter on the water.

[00:05:26] Absolutely. And any time you're going to get in any kind [00:05:30] of recreational vehicle, snowmobile, ATV, three wheeler, boat, you know, they all have safety courses with them. You can take them online, especially now during COVID. So we can now kind of head into that COVID precautions and all of those safety classes that people should be taking are all online. Also, winter is a great time if your family hasn't taken the boat safety class, take that online so you can get all your safety classes online. You can make sure you reviewed the manuals for any specifics. [00:06:00] So you really begin to add in the whole safety class. I've got my manual. I've got my safety gear. I've thought about all the members of my family for safety gear because sometimes we don't we don't think of ourselves maybe. We maybe think about our kid, but we're not thinking about ourselves with the safety gear. And then also, again, think about as we talked about, it's an extension of your family. These are all an extension of your family and they're an extension of your vehicle, so for all of us that are driving around and we have the extra masks in [00:06:30] our car. We have hand sanitizer in our car. Yet all of those safety precautions we're taking for COVID, we have to take when we're out recreating. And again, not while we're on our snowmobile, maybe not while we're out participating in other individualized activities. But if we're going with our friends to the ice shanty, you know, when we get out into the ice shanty, many people will take a snowmobile out. Obviously, it doesn't sound like you'll be on the snowmobile going out to the ice shanty. But you want [00:07:00] to make sure that when you take all your gloves and your hat off, because a lot of ice shanties are heated, that you have your mask off now you're out there with your friends, that might not be part of your COVID family. These may be your winter recreation friends and you're not going to be six feet apart.

[00:07:16] I hate to do this. I got to cut you short because we're on a time crunch here. So if you want to get more information from a New York Sea Grant, you can check them out online at nyseagrant.org. Dave, never enough time [00:07:30] when we're chatting and we'll hopefully do it again soon.

[00:07:33] I look forward to it. You always get me going, Steve. I love it. I'm up and going in the morning.

[00:07:37] Happy to help. Dave White from New York Sea Grant has been our guest. 7:57 am on the Finger Lakes Morning News.

White's NYSG "Boating and Marine Trades" content can be found at www.nyseagrant.org/marina. He also has information on Great Lakes shipwrecks at www.nyseagrant.org/shipwreck.

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, University at 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. Our program also produces an occasional e-newsletter,"NOAA Sea Grant's Social Media Review," via its blog, www.nyseagrant.org/blog.

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