DEC and State Parks announce boat launch dock installations and COVID-19 guidelines

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NEW YORK (WETM-TV)- The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) announced that boat launch installations are ongoing across the state to ensure boaters have access to New York State’s abundant recreational opportunities.

Each spring, DEC and State Parks regional staff work to install docks at all sites, often before the opening day for various sportfish species. During the COVID -19 public health crisis, when boating and fishing DEC and State Parks encourage New Yorkers to recreate locally and use the hashtag #RecreateLocal, avoid busy waters, and follow the guidelines on DEC’s website about fishing responsibly in New York State.

Docks are being installed at boat launches across the state. Schedules for boat launch installations can change based on water levels, weather, and ice conditions.

Most sites are open for public use even if the boarding dock is not installed. Boaters are encouraged to call their regional fisheries office or State Park to check the boat launch status.

Restrooms at these facilities will remain closed out of an abundance of caution to prevent the community spread of COVID-19. Boat launches at DEC campgrounds remain closed at this time.

Please note that the boat launch at Lake Flower in Saranac Lake is restricted due to an adjacent construction project. For more details, go to DEC Lake Flower Boat Launch announcement.

A list of New York State Boat Launching Sites contains boating access and launching areas available to the public, as well as helpful information on launching and retrieving boats and aquatic invasive species. For people with mobility issues, DEC also maintains a photo album of accessible launch and fishing sites.

For information about non-DEC boat launch site operations, please contact the specific municipality or agency.

Please continue to follow the CDC/New York State Department of Health guidelines for preventing the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19: 

  • Try to keep at least six feet of distance between you and others.
  • Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands.
  • Wash hands often or use a hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid surfaces that are touched often, such as rails, posts, and tie off cleats. 

When boating and fishing, DEC and State Parks recommend New Yorkers to recreate locally, avoid busy waters, and follow the guidelines on DEC’s website about fishing responsibly in New York State.

If an angler arrives at a parking lot and there are several cars, consider going to another parking lot. If an angler is fishing upstream, they should fish downstream of the other angler or consider fishing another day. Do not share a car with people not in your household while traveling to fishing or boating sites.

Anglers fishing from boats should always be able to maintain at least six feet of distance between one another. For more information about the benefits of being outdoors safely and responsibly, go to DEC’s website.

New York’s waters remain cold throughout the spring. Life jacket wear is required through May 1 on pleasure boats less than 21 feet long and dressing in layers is recommended to avoid hypothermia.

Boaters should be alert at all times and follow the rules of the nautical road. Under Brianna’s law, all operators of motorized vessels must take a safe boating course and earn a safe boating certificate by 2025. For information on recreational boating in New York, visit NYS Parks website.

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