There were more than twice as many boating accidents on Lake George this year as in 2017, but boating while intoxicated arrests were down slightly in what those who patrolled the lake called a busy year.
The Lake George Park Commission responded to 20 boat crashes this year, compared to 9 last year. And while that figure more than doubled, Park Commission Lt. Joe Johns said this year’s accident figures were more in line with previous years.
Johns, who supervises the Park Commission’s law enforcement division, said there seemed to be more relatively minor boat crashes this year. Under state law, crashes that result in more than $1,500 in damage must be reported.
“This year we didn’t have very many serious accidents,” he said.
Better boating weather this summer, with extremely dry months of June and July, likely resulted in more boating traffic.
There was one drowning, and several near-drownings, to which Park Commission officers were called, as well as injuries from boat accidents such as a cut from a propeller. In one of them, two patrol officers were singled out for saving the life of a 78-year-old man.
Between the Park Commission and Warren County Sheriff’s Office, 11 BWI arrests were made on the lake this year. That was down from 17 in 2017, a year where a big crackdown took place after 2016’s fatal boat crash.
“That’s still way up from our average,” Johns said.
The annual average before the 2017 crackdown and joint boat patrols was 3, Johns added. And blood alcohol content levels of intoxicated boaters seemed to be lower than found during arrests in past years, he noted.
Tickets issued to speeding boats were up notably from 16 to 22.
Administrative cases for enforcement of lake permits rose from 49 last year to 80 this year.
Park Commission officers Keith Knoop and Sgt. Angelo Paccione were given the agency’s “Lifesaving Awards” for performing CPR on a man who nearly drowned. Officer Ray Van Anden was also recognized in the report for likely saving the lives of a mother and young child who got into trouble swimming off Dog Beach by pulling them out of the water.
Patrol Officer Bob Sutphen was honored as “officer of the year,” in part for his efforts to break up a large underage drinking party taking place on three boats on the lake in Hague.
The 25-page report is loaded with interesting, and in some cases amusing, anecdotes about calls that marine patrol officers handled.