Safety course required for boaters

The Lake Erie walleye fishing has been very good, starting at sunset each day. Colorful lures normally used to catch salmon on Lake Ontario work well for Lake Erie walleye, too. Photo by Reel Time Charters

While the cost of gas is not going down too fast, the number of boat operators in New York seems to be increasing if you monitor the boat launch sites in Erie and Chautauqua Counties. There is no room to park your truck and trailer. There are more boaters on the water than ever before. National Boat Safety Week this was May 18-24, to highlight responsible boating, vessel safety checks and using common sense on the water.

For more focus, just a reminder, the boater operator in NYS law will require that all motorboat operators must complete a boating safety course and obtain a valid certificate from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation by Jan. 1, 2025.

There is no grandfather clause this time.

For the remainder of the 2024 boating year, anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1978, must carry a boating safety certificate now while operating a motorized vessel.

In NYS there are increasing rules and regulations for recreational opportunities as the result of accidents and related studies that generate new safety rules. Many of the new rules are the result of Brianna’s Law. Of course, the free range marijuana laws have nothing to do with increasing numbers of waterway and other motion related accidents. It’s opinion weekend.

The new boating safety certificate will be required for all recreational boaters using motorized vessels, including personal watercraft. Boat renters are allowed to rent and operate a motorboat from a livery without first obtaining a boating safety certificate, following basic instructions and safety information before departure from the livery staff.

The Safe Boating Course provides basic boating skills, discusses the common sense rules and formal rules. The online course cost from NYS is $34.95. It includes a complete and easy-to-read study guide, the course, the final test, and an online certificate less time. You can also take the course from the Boat US Foundation, it is free. Check that at https://www.boatrus.org/.

There are also qualifying courses (and certificates) available through the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron. If you take the course this way and are 18 or older, there is a $10 fee for the permanent boating safety certificate, payable to New York State Parks when you present your second source certificate. If you think you have been a boat owner operator for the last 50 years and are smart enough, and you do not need this certificate, note that there is a $250 fine.

The Lake Erie walleye fishing is getting into high gear. Early sunset lure casters and flat line trollers are enjoying the early season action beyond measure. Captain T. J. Yetzer of Reel Time Charters says the action has been good all night long.

Yetzer adds, “The Lake Erie evenings have been beautiful with stunning sunsets and steady 3-man customer limits.”

2024 will be a good year for newbies to discover the fun of Lake Erie walleye fishing. US Coast Guard certified charter boat captains that practice all the safety regulations and have all the gear to find your limit in short order can be found with little effort by searching Google for the Eastern Lake Erie Charter Boat Association (https://www.easternlakeeriecharters.com).

Outdoors Calendar:

May 25: Memorial Day Sporting Clay Shoot, Hanover Rod & Gun, 780 Overhiser Rd., Forestville, 9AM shooting start, 8AM registration start. Info: Bill Scott, 716-480-2022, or visit www.hanoverclays.com.

June 1: Opening Day, NYS inland lakes musky season, 40-inch minimum length, 1 fish/day.

June 1: Take-A-Kid Fishing Day, Dunkirk Yacht Club, Memorial Park, Dunkirk, 9AM start. Hosted by the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club – free fishing tackle for use. Sign up at the club (Mullet Street).

June 2: Kids Fishing Clinic, Dunkirk Walleye Festival, Dunkirk City Pier, 10AM start with walleye pro champion, Craig Sleeman, FREE. Info: Josh Larsen, 716-490-4226.

June 15: Youth Fishing Derby, Westfield Fish & Game, 9AM-2PM. 8101 Ogden Rd., Westfield.

NOTE: Submit Calendar items to forrestfisher35@yahoo.com.


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