ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. -- It's been a busy season on local waterways. With more people out and about, there is more reason for caution. Earlier this week, a 12-year-old died in Oneida County after a tubing incident. Safety experts are sharing some reminders.
• Wear a life jacket.
"Actually, they're very inexpensive and they save lives. ... Wearing a life jacket is key," Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol said.
• Do not drink and drive.
"The operator of the boat cannot be under the influence of alcohol. That's something that we take very seriously here. We have zero tolerance when we do find folks who are intoxicated and boating," said Maciol.
• Know the weather conditions, and how they will impact the water and your plans.
"You've gotta know about the weather. If the weather turns on you, you can get in trouble, overturn your boat," Richard Gassner of the Utica Sail and Power Squadron said.
• Look over charts that detail the layout of the water you'll be on.
"That's the other thing that people don't do is know how to read a chart where water looks smooth but one foot underneath could be big rocks," said Gassner.
• If operating a machine, be prepared for how it could react when hitting big waves.
• If tubing or waterskiing, it's a requirement to wear a life jacket, and have a spotter who knows hand signals for turns, speeding up, slowing down, or stopping.
• Boating safety courses are recommended.
In the Mohawk Valley they are offered by the Utica Sail and Power Squadron, and the Oneida County Sheriff's Office.