The Oneida County Sheriff’s Marine Section is responsible for water safety
and enforcement efforts on six lakes (Oneida, Delta, Hinckley, White, Kayuta
and Otter) and portions of the Barge Canal within the County of Oneida.
Marine Patrol Deputies utilize six boats and several personal watercraft to
patrol the waterways and to assure that boaters, swimmers and other water-sport
enthusiasts are provided a safe environment to enjoy their summer recreational
activities in Oneida County. Marine Patrol Deputies also conduct boating safety
classes each year to educate boaters of all ages regarding the rules of the
The Marine Patrol Unit is commanded by a Lieutenant and staffed primarily by
seasonal employees who have a sincere interest and background in
boating safety and criminal justice. Marine Patrol Deputies are assigned to
several different lakes throughout the summer months in an effort to provide
them with a greater understanding of different needs and problems that exist on
waterways throughout the County. Marine Patrol Deputies work closely
with Uniformed Patrol Deputies and exchange information and ideas to provide
the best coverage possible.
Beginning with the year 2004, all operators (of any age) of Personal Water Craft
(PWC) must have completed a boating safety course and must possess a Boating
The new law only applies to the operation of Personal Water Craft (Jet
Skis, Wet Bikes). It does not apply to motorized vessels such as
motorboats. The laws concerning the operation of motorized vessels other
than PWCs has not changed, and anyone 18 or older can still operate a
motorboat without a certificate.
As in years past, the Sheriff’s Office will conduct several boating safety
courses during the boating season, but it is anticipated that demand will far
exceed the course openings. This is unfortunate for those PWC operators who
have not obtained their certificates, but there is nothing the Sheriff’s Office
can do to alleviate the problem.
The requirement that PWC operators of all ages possess a Boater Safety
Certificate has been gradually phased in since the year 2000, when all persons
nineteen and under were required to possess a certificate. For the year 2001,
the age was twenty three and under; 2002, twenty seven and under; 2003, thirty
one and under; 2004, all PWC operators.
Beginning January 1, 2006, the operation of Personal Watercraft by persons age 10-13
is restricted. Effective January 1, 2009, the minimum age for operation
of a Personal Watercraft is 14. Additional information concerning changes to
the Navigation Law can be read on the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation
and Historic Preservation website.