A revamping of boat patrols on Lake George last summer had a big impact on the number of accidents, and the law enforcement agencies that put patrol boats on the lake plan to keep up the pressure again this summer.
The night patrol that puts a Warren County sheriff’s officer with a Lake George Park Commission officer is continuing this year, after a summer that saw boating accidents drop by more than 50 percent and boating while intoxicated arrests increase among heightened enforcement.
“We think last year was a very good year for coverage on the lake and our interaction with the Sheriff’s Office,” said Dave Wick, executive director of the Park Commission.
The night patrol was added as part of a crackdown that came after a deadly summer of 2016 on the lake, which included a crash that killed 8-year-old Charlotte McCue and a number of other high-profile boat collisions and incidents.
The agencies that enforce boating laws on the lake, including the Park Commission, Warren County Sheriff’s Office, state Department of Environmental Conservation and State Police, worked with municipalities and lake protection groups for education and enforcement improvements that stemmed mostly from Charlotte’s tragic death.
Warren County Sheriff Bud York said the night patrol seemed to help control alcohol-related problems among boaters on the lake last summer.
“We’re going to do what we did last summer. They did a good job,” York said.
Wick said Park Commission staff will continue to work with the Lake George Association on outreach programs with marinas and boat rental operations to educate patrons about drinking-and-boating. The program that requires renters to watch an educational video and get basic boat training before renting is continuing as well.
York said police are also working on plans to ensure that Log Bay Day, the all-day party on the lake on the last Monday of July that preceded the crash that killed Charlotte and seriously injured her mother, does not go forward again this year. The party was canceled last summer, with police closing the popular sandy bay on the east side of the lake and limiting parking on adjacent state land.
“We will be closing the bay again this year,” Wick said.
York said the Sheriff’s Office’s boat patrol will also continue its contract to put a boat patrol on Schroon Lake and have a roving patrol that will spend time on Brant Lake, Glen Lake and the Hudson River and other lakes in the county, as complaints warrant.