State will step up efforts to enforce no-wake zone along Lake Ontario
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced ramped up efforts to enforce no wake zones along the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shoreline this weekend.
Multiple state agencies are deploying additional resources to assist with local enforcement efforts, including a total of 20 watercraft and 42 law enforcement officers from the Department of Environmental Conservation, Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Division of Military and Naval Affairs, and State Police.
As part of ongoing enforcement efforts, local municipalities may issue tickets carrying fines of up to $250 per infraction to recreational boaters violating the 5 mph speed limit within 600 feet of shore, which was announced by the Governor in May. The state has also launched a multimedia outreach campaign to ensure boaters are aware of and abiding by the speed limit.
“With high water levels along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, it is critical that we support local enforcement efforts and ensure boaters are aware of speed limits in place,” Cuomo said in a news release. “With the deployment of these additional resources and personnel, New York is working with local communities to protect flood affected homes, businesses and infrastructure along the shoreline as best we can. I encourage everyone to take precautions while on the water, follow the rules and remain safe.”
On May 29 the Governor directed the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to implement a 5 mile per hour speed limit to control wakes within 600 feet of the Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River shoreline to reduce impacts to residences and infrastructure caused by wave action and to promote safe boating.
Under normal conditions, boaters are required to obey the 5-mile per hour speed limit within 100 feet of shore. With the current state of emergency in the region, and as water levels remain elevated throughout the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River system, the Governor directed State Parks to institute the expanded speed restriction, which remains in effect.
Waves created by boat wakes can exacerbate shoreline erosion, further threatening residential and municipal infrastructure. Reduced speeds result in reduced boat wakes and lessen the wave action along the shore. Reduced speeds are also necessary to ensure safe boating, as many hidden hazards and debris have been covered by elevated water levels and can threaten boaters.
Multimedia Outreach Campaign
The Governor also announced the launch of a multimedia outreach campaign to ensure that both local and visiting boaters are aware of safe boating practices and the speed limits in place. State agencies are working with local municipalities to educate boaters and have positioned a total of 10 digital message boards at strategic locations throughout the region, and will also be distributing information at boat launches and marinas. Additional outreach efforts include text alerts through the NY Alert system, and public service announcements via radio and social media.
Governor Cuomo is also providing more than $20 million in funding to assist homeowners, small businesses, and local governments that have been impacted by flooding along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Last week, the Governor and Legislature reached an agreement that will expand program eligibility and increase the total amount of assistance to $45 million and also provide up to $10 million in assistance for certain counties impacted by past extreme weather events. To learn more and to apply, visit: www.ny.gov/programs/lake-ontario-relief-and-recovery.
Additionally, the Governor committed approximately $1 million in expedited funding—up to $500,000 for the Town of Greece and up to $500,000 for the Village of Sodus Point—to conduct emergency repairs and upgrades to flood-impacted wastewater treatment systems. The Governor has also signed legislation amending the Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 to provide emergency financial assistance for municipalities to be available immediately. The amended legislation removes a 120 day waiting period, allowing municipalities across the state to access emergency loans.
Emergency Response Mobile Command Centers
To continue the state’s efforts in helping communities recover from flooding, the NYS Emergency Response Mobile Command Centers continue to offer weekend hours throughout the summer. In addition, those who are not able to visit the Emergency Response Mobile Command Center can call the Lake Ontario Flood Assistance Hotline at 1-866-244-3839, seven days a week, from 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. for help with insurance-related issues, assistance with flood mitigation measures such as sandbags, and for technical guidance regarding on-site repairs to their property. To date, the state has assisted more than 2,000 individuals at the Mobile Command Centers, fielded more than 1,900 calls through the hotline, and DEC has issued more than 900 permits and emergency authorizations.
The Mobile Command Center will in Orleans County today and Thursday at the Marine Park on Route 98 in Carlton.