Horrigan Stresses Boating Safety as Part of His 100 Days of Summer Safety Campaign


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Office of the Chautauqua County Executive

Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan recently visited Chautauqua Marina in Mayville to announce boating safety tips as part of his 100 Days of Summer Safety Campaign.

Gathered at the boat dock, Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph A. Gerace, Deputies Greg Paterniti and Robert Richter of the Navigation Division of the Sheriff’s Office, Chautauqua Marina President Ken Shearer, and Horrigan stressed the importance of boater safety.

“Boating on Chautauqua County lakes is one of the best memories that I have growing up,” said Horrigan. “Whether it includes fishing, water sports, or just cruising, don’t let tragedy replace the fun of boating. Safe boating must be in everyone’s mind and boating accidents are preventable with everyone’s help.”

Gerace encouraged everyone to think safety first when enjoying our waterways.

“Almost every year tragedy strikes on our waterways, and these accidents can be avoided,” said Gerace. “Life jackets are lifesavers and should be used routinely. Many people overestimate their swimming ability and alcohol is often a factor in drowning incidents. Operating a motorboat while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is illegal and dangerous. Please be responsible when boating and swimming. Pay attention to changing weather events and remember that tragedy can strike in an instant. Enjoy our beautiful waterways, but do it safely.”

Paterniti and Richter each have been patrolling the lake for over 30 years and a majority of the people they see on the lake are not wearing their life jackets.

Life jackets are designed to support the wearer in deep water and to prevent drowning. Individuals should always wear a life jacket when boating, rafting, tubing or using a personal watercraft. When finding the right life jacket, it is important the life jacket has the U.S. Coast Guard stamp of approval and the weight limits on its label will properly fit and support the intended user. The life jacket’s buckles and straps should also be checked to make sure they are functioning properly. Any life jacket with torn fabric or loose straps should be discarded. It is also important to remember that water wings, swim rings, inflatable toys and other items designed for water recreation are not substitutes for U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets.

“The most important thing someone can do is wear their floatation device while they are on the water and not store them,” said Paterniti. “A stored life jacket won’t help you when you are in the water and unable to get back to your boat.”

Richter also reminded kids to tell their parents where they are going out on the lake and when they will return.

It is also important for individuals to keep their boats in safe operating condition.

“Part of boating safety is proper maintenance,” said Shearer. “Here at Chautauqua Marina we are here to help guide you to properly maintain and enjoy your boat. Today’s products make it easier than ever to both maintain your boat and be safe. We want everyone to have an enjoyable and safe time out on the water.”

The 100 Days of Summer Safety Campaign was announced by Horrigan in May and it challenges residents to practice safety from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. During the months of June, July, and August, he will partner with county officials to raise awareness about important safety tips and precautions for residents and visitors to take while they enjoy family vacations and recreational activities this summer.

“By making safety a top priority this summer, residents can help do their part in preventing tragedies such as automobile, motorcycle, bicycle or boating accidents,” said Horrigan. “Residents are encouraged to make it their mission to be responsible, be aware of their surroundings, address safety issues and educate others on practicing safety. By stressing safety during these summer months, it is my hope that residents will get into the habit of making safety their number one priority and continue to practice safety all year long.”