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Officials call for safe boating, social distancing

MAYFIELD — Although, area marinas are opening and residents are eager to get out the house and back the lake, local law enforcement agencies are reminding everyone on the Great Sacandaga Lake to be safe and continue to remain socially distant.

Members of the Great Sacandaga Safe Lake Initiative held its annual Boater Safety Week press conference at the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District.

“We’re here today to remind people as we start out, everyone has been pent up for the last two months waiting to get out there. We anticipate all our lakes are going to be very busy and we want to remind people of safety tips,” said Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino.

He reminds everyone to limit drinking, have a designated driver and to have personal safety vests.

“Most accidents and drownings occur because someone did not have a vest on,” Giardino said. “It’s a number one factor that could have made a difference.”

The Safe Lake Lake Initiative which is composed of local law enforcement from Fulton, Montgomery and Saratoga counties, DEC, the Great Sacandaga Association, the Sean Craig Memorial Fund, the Henry D. Ross III Memorial Fund, the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District, many area marinas and local town governments around the lake to support and promote save recreation on the lake.

The Sean Craig Memorial Fund and the Henry D. Ross III Memorial Fund were created after two tragedies occurred on the lake. Henry D. Ross III died in a tragic snowmobile accident, and Sean Craig died from an accidental drowning — both on the Great Sacandaga Lake.

“This initiative is about keeping people safe and keeping people alive and enjoying themselves safely,” said Montgomery County Sheriff Jeff Smith.

He said the sheriff’s office is “extremely thankful” to be a partner in the safe lake initiative especially because unlike Fulton County, in Montgomery County, they have the Mohawk River. Smith said when there is an incident on GSL, they are able to provide boat operators and equipment to assist as a mutual aid partner, and if there were ever an incident on the Mohawk River, he knows Fulton County and Saratoga County will be able to assist and repay the favor.

There also has been about 30 life rings strategically placed and installed by the Hudson River-Black River Regulating district at locations around the GSL in efforts to prevent future tragedies.

The locations of those life rings include: The Hudson River-Black River Regulating district, Captain Nauti’s Sunset Grill, Cranberry Cove Marina, Edinburg Marina, Inn at the Bridge, Lanzi’s on the Lake, Lakeside Tavern, Miller Grandview Marina, Northampton Marina, Park Marine Base, Reets Waterfront Marina, Sacandaga Bible Conference, Sacandaga Boat Club, Sport Island Pub, Wally’s Driftwood Park and Watersedge Campground.

The life rings are throwable devices that can be thrown out to someone in the water who may be drowning.

They were created by the Sean Craig Memorial Fund in hopes of saving the life of someone who is drowning.

A smartphone app has also been created by members of the Henry D. Ross III Memorial Fund called the Send It app, which is a recreational GPS based alert app. The app can alert anyone of any possible hazards on the lake, and allows anyone to mark those hazards.

Representatives are also reminding everyone on the lake to social distance and continue to follow the state guidelines.

“Have common sense this summer when you’re out boating and recreating” said Lt. Matt Clemens with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. “With boat launches being open, especially DEC launches, again we’re recommending social distancing, keep your masks on especially when launching and retrieving.”

Clemens said to keep soap or hand sanitizer on. He is asking people to refrain from going into a heavy populated area and not to tie up vessels this summer.

“We’re trying to keep our social distancing in effect this summer and make sure everyone has a safe, enjoyable summer,” Clemens said.

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