Tompkins County officials are urging boaters to brush up on boating safety before their first outings on Cayuga Lake this summer.

Tompkins County officials are urging boaters to brush up on boating safety before their first outings on Cayuga Lake this summer. 


National Safe Boating Week is May 22 to 28 and marks the official launch of the 2021 Safe Boating Campaign. 

 As COVID-19 restrictions loosen, it is expected more people will be taking to Cayuga Lake this summer for boating, sailing, paddling, and fishing. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that human error accounts for most boating accidents and that wearing a life jacket could prevent nearly 86% of boating fatalities, according to the Tompkins County Department of Emergency Response. 

 In addition to wearing an approved life vest every time you are on the water, boaters should also: 

•File a float plan so someone onshore knows when and where you are going and when you are expected back. 

•Know the rules of navigation. Brianna’s Law requires all motorboat operators to complete a boating safety course. 

•Properly equip your vessel, and check that all gear is working or up to date (e.g., lights, horn, fire extinguishers, flares, batteries, signal flags, first-aid kits, etc.). 

 Boating responsibly has taken on added significance in the wake of the pandemic. Even as the percentage of fully vaccinated individuals grows, social distancing remains the best way to stay safe. Don’t raft up with other boats or beach your boat next to someone else and maintain your distance at the fuel dock. For more safety tips visit

 In the event of an emergency on the water, boaters should call 9-1-1 and provide the dispatcher with information about the nature of the emergency and their location. Any boater in need of towing, repairs, or non-emergency assistance can call Finger Lakes Marine Service at (607) 533-4422 between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Mike’s Marine Service of Ithaca is also available to assist boaters at (607) 351-8268, 24 hours a day. 

In Chemung County, the Chemung County Sheriff’s Office added one additional Boater Safety class. The class will be limited to twenty-five (25) attendees. The youngest a person can attend a class is 10 years of age by the date the class is given. In the near future, ALL persons operating ANY watercraft will need the license. See your birth year to see when the course is required: 

Born after Jan. 1, 1993 must complete a safety course beginning in 2020. 

Born after Jan. 1, 1988 must complete a safety course beginning in 2022. 

Born after Jan. 1, 1983 must complete a safety course beginning in 2023. 

Born after Jan. 1, 1978 must complete a safety course beginning in 2024. 

The requirement would extend to all motor boat operators beginning in 

2025, regardless of age. 

There will be no fee for the class and there will be a thirty (30) minute lunch break for people to eat, they can bring their own food and drink with them or hot dogs will be for sale by the fire department. The class will be held on a Saturday and the class time will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The class will be held as follows: 

06/12/2021 – Golden Glow Fire Dept. 

Anyone interested in attending any of the class is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (607) 737-2987 ext. 74104. Again, the class size will be limited to 25 students on a first come, first serve basis. You must be pre- registered to attend the class.

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