On YouTube: What to Expect on the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario as Spring Approaches
Great Lakes Boating & Marine Trades - News

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

Filed by Isabella Colello for ABC 50 Now News

Clayton, NY, March 16, 2022 — With spring only days away, the transition period of the seasons has already begun.

This will impact local recreationists as many continue their winter hobbies, such as ice fishing, but also early spring activities as many are eager to get their boats on the water.

New York Sea Grant Coastal Recreation & Tourism Specialist Dave White offered tips to early spring recreationists as the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River “awaken,” the St. Lawrence Seaway reopens and temperatures rise.

“As recreation enthusiasts here in the North Country, we’re going to have people that will drive by in the morning and we’re going to see out still ice fishing where the opportunity is. And then by the afternoon we’re going to see folks out in open water,” White shared. “So as we go into the transition to these seasons, we have to think about extra precautions we need to take, to be safe on the ice and to be safe on the water.”

According to New York Sea Grant, the first step all should take regardless of it they are on the ice or out on the water, is to always wear a life jacket.

By law, boaters are required to wear a life jacket on the water regardless of their age until May 1 in New York State. However, ice fisherman are also encouraged to wear a float suit as ice conditions begin to thin and become unstable as well as wear bright colors.

All boaters are urged to also form a “Float Plan.” This includes telling someone where you’re going, when you’re going and when you’re coming back.

White said, “that way, you know, if all of a sudden, you’re not back when you said and the neighbors looking out and your is not back in the driveway, they know there may have been a problem.”

And also the North Country is anticipating warmer days, with temperatures even hitting 60 degrees, White warned that is still winter beneath the water’s surface, creating increased risks for hypothermia.

“I’ve never been on a kayak when I stayed dry, I always get wet,” White expressed. “So you want to be prepared in case you do go in [the water]. Be prepared because hypothermia can set in quickly, but also just paddling around on it and enjoying the water. You want to make sure you’re dressed correctly to get wet.”

Sea Grant also provided the following tips for ice safety:

— Test for thickness: At least 4 inches is needed and thickness increases as the weight of people, gear increases
— Drill test holes
— Ice near shore will erode first and can soften on sunny days
— Beware of near shore areas where property owners may use water bubblers
— Carry ice picks to help haul yourself out of the ice

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, 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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