A Warrensburg man was charged with boating while intoxicated recently after he ran a boat aground on Schroon Lake, the third BWI arrest in Warren County in what police said has been a light summer for boating arrests and problems so far.
While boating traffic on Lake George and Schroon Lake has been high thanks to warm, dry weather, local law enforcement is optimistic that the drop in BWI arrests means that boaters are finally heeding the warnings that have been issued about drunken boating amid a crackdown that began in 2017.
That crackdown occurred after 8-year-old Charlotte McCue died in a July 2016 boat crash that was attributed to a boater who had been drinking and using drugs. An annual safety campaign in her name followed, which has included increased boat patrols on Lake George, particularly at night.
Lake George Park Commission Sgt. Angelo Paccione said he is seeing far fewer boaters who are drinking while boating these days, particularly when working the night patrol.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “Very few are drinking, and if they are, they have a designated operator who isn’t drinking.”
The Warren County Sheriff’s Office boat patrol has made two BWI arrests this summer, one occurring after a crash on Schroon Lake earlier this month.
Sheriff’s officers charged Joshua J. Beadnell, 39, of Warrensburg with misdemeanor BWI on Aug. 3 after his boat ran aground on a section of the lake in the town of Chester, according to the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff’s Lt. Peter DiFiore said the department made one other BWI arrest this summer as well, though the water where it happened was not immediately available.
David Wick, executive director of the Lake George Park Commission, said Park Commission boat patrol officers and State Police have each made an impaired boating arrest on Lake George so far this summer, one a BWI arrest and the other a boating while ability impaired charge.
The Park Commission and Sheriff’s Office have continued to combine for a night boat patrol, which was added as part of 2017’s heightened enforcement effort.
He said the BWI arrests appears to be on pace to be the fewest on the lake during his seven-year tenure as the Park Commission’s executive director.
“I think this is the lightest since I have been here,” Wick said. “But it’s definitely been busy out there, there’s no doubt about that.”
There were 18 BWI arrests on Lake George during the summer of 2017, and 11 last summer.
Police annually made a handful of BWI arrests at the annual lake party known as Log Bay Day the last Monday in July each year, which was halted in the wake of Charlotte’s death on July 25, 2016 at the hands of a boater who had partied at the gathering much of the day before the crash.
The 2016 tragedy resulted in a number safety initiatives targeting impaired boaters and rental boats.
The Sheriff’s Office, Park Commission, State Police and state Department of Environmental Conservation all operate boat patrols on the lake during the summer.
There had been two boating accidents with serious injuries as of Wednesday, one involving a parasailer and the other a kayaker hit by a boat.