As the boating season begins, the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol Unit would like to remind everyone of some basic requirements and safety tips to ensure everyone on the water has a great and memorable time this year.

Before leaving your dock, check the weather. Have a plan, where are you heading and when you plan to return. Let a relative or friend know that plan. Inspect your vessel and equipment before leaving the dock. Know the waters that you are boating in, check with the locals and the charts for hazards.

A personal floatation device (PFD) is required for everyone on board. It must be in good condition, USCG approved, of the correct size, and readily available. Children under the age of 12 years old must being wearing a PFD if underway. Anyone operating or riding on a personal watercraft (PWC) must be wearing a PFD. Everyone in a kayaks, canoes, and standuppaddleboards are required to have a PFD with them. Anyone operating between November 1st and May 1st must be wearing PFD if the vessel is under 21’ in length

Anyone born after May 1, 1996 must possess a Boater Safety Certificate to operate a vessel. Everyone operating a personal watercraft (PWC) must be 14 years or older and possess a Boater Safety Certificate to operate unless the passenger is 18 years or older and possess a Boater Safety certificate.

Do not drink alcohol and operate a boat. The effects of alcohol are enhanced on the water, by fatigue, dehydration, and the general environment. USCG estimates that 50% of all boating accidents are alcohol related. Do not allow passengers to sit on the bow while underway. Obey speed limits, 5mph within 100’ of shore, anchored vessel, and docks.

Required Equipment for Motorized Vessels

• NYS Registration

• If over 16’ in length a USCG approved Type 4 throwable floatation device

• A sound producing device, such as a whistle or air horn

• An anchor and sufficient line

• A fire extinguisher in good working order and the proper number for the size of the vessel

• Daytime distress signal such as USCG approved distress flag or daytime approved flares

• Nighttime visual signal such as USCG approved flares

• Navigation lights required during night operation and during low visibility

Required Equipment on Personal Watercraft

• PFD must be worn at all times

• Engine cut-off lanyard and attached to operator

• Daytime distress signal


For more information on boating and all required equipment check out New York Safe Boating online at or contact the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol Unit, Lt. James Paravati or Deputy Jay Sorrentino at 315-736-0141