As high water continues, Gov. Cuomo extends 5-mile-per-hour speed limit on St. Lawrence River through Labor Day weekend
Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - 11:53 am

The 5-mile-per-hour speed limit when boating near shore on the St. Lawrence River has been extended through Labor Day weekend.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has authorized the Commissioner of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to extend the boating speed limit on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario through Saturday, Sept. 2.

Vessels operating within 600 feet of shore must not go above 5 miles per hour “to reduce impacts to shoreline residences and infrastructure caused by wave action and to promote safe boating,” according to an announcement from Cuomo’s office.

Reduced speeds are “necessary to ensure safe boating, as many hidden hazards and debris have been covered by elevated water levels and can threaten boaters,” the statement says. By extending the speed limit for an additional month, boat wakes and wave action will remain low along the Lake Ontario and St Lawrence shores. Waves created by boat wakes can exacerbate shoreline erosion, further threatening residential and municipal infrastructure. Local municipalities may issue tickets carrying fines of up to $250 per infraction to recreational boaters violating the 5 mph speed limit within 600 feet of shore, Cuomo’s office said.

Under normal conditions, boaters are required to obey the 5 mile per hour speed limit within 100 feet of the shore, dock, pier, raft, float, or anchored boat. When no speed limit is posted, vessels must always be operated in such a fashion so as not to endanger others. A vessel must be able to stop safely within the clear space ahead and a vessel operator is always responsible for any damage caused by the vessel's wake, according to Cuomo’s office.

"We urge boaters heading to their favorite destinations on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River to be good stewards of our state's coastal environment. By following the reduced speed limits, boaters are helping prevent more erosion along the coastline and ensure the safety of all boaters from any potential accidents,” State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said in a prepared statement.

"High water continues to impact homeowners and businesses along the Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, and by extending the no-wake zone for an additional month, we can ensure boaters are helping to protect New York's vulnerable shorelines," Cuomo said in a prepared statement. "As part of the state's ongoing response to coastal flooding in the region, this 5 mile per hour speed limit will help keep both communities and residents along the shoreline safe."