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Sharing the waters on Saratoga Lake

Non-motorized crafts such as this have the right of way over motorized boats, but that rule isn’t always adhered to on Saratoga Lake, according to some. Photo Submitted.

Non-motorized crafts such as this have the right of way over motorized boats, but that rule isn’t always adhered to on Saratoga Lake, according to some. Photo Submitted.

— New York State Police confirmed the incident and said reports from that time indicate a number of young rowers were injured.

Lt. Walt Schedel of the New York State Park Police was one of the investigating officers involved with the incident. He recalls that “a myriad of things chimed in” and contributed to the accident. One of the factors was that the sheriff’s boat was a one-man patrol. Typically, Shedel said their agency “doesn’t do that” and has a person on board maintaining a proper lookout.

“Speed was not an issue. … There was a lot of sun glare and the shell was low to the water,” he said.

Rules of the water

All parties agree Saratoga Lake is a safe and accommodating place when the rules are observed. Blodgett said the rules of the road also apply to boaters and to situations similar to pedestrians crossing a street.

The most important rule is a simple one, though.

“All boats are required to carry life preservers in good working condition for every person on the boat, including infant sizes. And, from November until May, all boaters are required to wear life preserves at all times,” said Blodgett.

When it comes to who has the right of way, power boaters need to yield to other vessels that may not have the ability to move easily or quickly.

“A boat under power than can handle maneuverability should yield to those with less maneuverability. Everybody needs to be looking out for everybody else. … Those in smaller crafts need to operate their boats defensively,” he said.

Weather conditions aside, lack of awareness of courtesies and rules account for most incidents on the lake every season.

“Everybody is trying to recreate in their own way. It boils down to following the navigation rules. If you’re in a boat that produces awake and you pass close to small boats within a certain distance, you are required to give a wide birth and or slow down and not potentially swamp (that)boat,” said Blodgett.

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