HADLEY — Police plan to monitor an annual floating party on Great Sacandaga Lake on Saturday — amid recent boating-related incidents on regional lakes — though the event has not created problems in the past.
The ninth annual Dam Tie-Up party at Conklingville Dam will kick off at noon, and Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo said patrol boats will be present.
“In years past, we haven’t had a problem, and we don’t anticipate a problem this year," Zurlo said. "But if something happens, we will be there."
He said two patrol boats will monitor the party as it progresses to its scheduled conclusion, at 5 p.m. He added that, in years past, the party has been a mixture of family- and alcohol-oriented fun, but that the group has always been considerate and respectful.
“They send us an email to let us know what’s going on,” Zurlo said.
Regional law enforcement agencies have renewed their focus on boating-related problems in the wake of the death of 8-year-old Charlotte McCue, who was killed on Lake George in July 2016.
Alexander West, 25, was convicted in May of driving his boat under the influence and causing the crash that claimed McCue’s life. He was sentenced to five to 15 years in prison in June. Log Bay Day was banned in the wake of McCue’s death, and the event was not held this year.
Poor boating behavior has also been recently reported on Great Sacandaga Lake.
Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino, whose office shares jurisdiction of the lake with Saratoga County, issued a statement this week highlighting several incidents on the lake this summer that, he said, need to be addressed.
Among them was a report that jet-skiers allegedly ran over ducklings near Batchellerville Bridge on Sunday; the state Department of Environmental Conservation is investigating that incident.
Giardino said his office has also fielded several complaints of boaters and jet-skiers speeding in no-wake zones and within 100 feet of shores and docks. The sheriff said he’s also received reports of watercraft swerving in and out of the paths of kayaks, sailboats, fishing boats, swimmers and water skiers/tubers.
(Provided by Fulton County Sheriff's Office)
Giardino added that substantial littering — including trash, diapers, beer bottles/cans and human waste — was recently found on Sand Island, and there are reports of unauthorized use of Beacon Island (AKA Yacht Club Island).
Giardino asked boating enthusiasts to respect the natural beauty of the lake and bring off the water anything that they bring onto it. He also asked people to respect the rights of those who have permits to be on Beacon Island.
Giardino said he’s aware of the Dam Tie-Up party Saturday, but his office will only be present if called upon for assistance by the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office.
“We try to help each other out,” Giardino said.
Zurlo said his office won’t be scrutinizing the tie-up party any more than in years past, but deputies will be on the lookout for those who are boating while intoxicated, in accordance with recent law enforcement efforts to crack down on such behavior.
Dam Tie-Up event organizers did not respond to a request for comment submitted via Facebook.