Seen on: WNYT Channel 13

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

SARATOGA SPRINGS – By all accounts, Saratoga Lake is busier than ever and police and prevention types are partnering to make it as safe as ever.

“Hey guys, you’re not in any trouble,” Deputy John Becker yelled to a family from Corning riding on a pontoon boat Tuesday.

Becker was riding on a SeaDoo personal watercraft. He was one of four deputies stopping boats on Saratoga Lake to hand out paper.

They weren’t writing tickets. People were getting brochures about the dangers of boating under the influence.

“I’m from the Prevention Council,”  Amber Danaher told the family.  “We have these flyers here that explain boating safety and boating under the influence.”

The brochures are part of a campaign called Operation Dry Water — the Prevention Council partnering with police to spread the word about the dangers of boating while intoxicated.

There are also billboards, lawn signs and radio PSAs.

“We just want to prevent people from going to jail, having fines, injuring others or themselves,” said Danaher.

Sgt. Guy Gurney says it’s his understanding boat sales are up as much as 75% this summer.

“With the pandemic, a lot of families have canceled their vacations, and they’re looking for something to do with their families and boating seems to be that number one choice,” Gurney said.

Which means more boats and personal watercraft on the lakes.

But Gurney says arrests of intoxicated boaters have stayed about the same and education is working.

“Accidents and BWIs have been consistently going down and that is due to education,” said Gurney.

Operation Dry Water also aims to spread the word about life jackets, saying 84% of the people who drown in a boating accident aren’t wearing them.