The Coast Guard Auxiliary out of Sylvan Beach is once again out on the water. The all-volunteer group, which aims to keep boaters safe on the eastern part of Oneida Lake, kicked off their new patrol season on Sunday. Our Andrew Sorensen gives us a look at why this group is so important, and what you can do to help them out.
It's a good thing the Coast Guard Auxiliary's motto is Semper Paratus, or "Always ready."
They could just save your boat, or your life.
"If somebody breaks down on the lake or there's an accident on the lake, we're normally the people that go out and bring the people back in," Bill Cummings, Auxiliary Flotilla 26 Commander said.
The Sylvan Beach Auxiliary officially started their season with their annual commissioning Sunday.
And as more and more boats are out on the water for the season, they want to education people before they make a serious mistake on the water.
"You see people not paying attention, people not realizing how to operate the boat," Cummings said.
Auxiliary Coast Guard members say one of the biggest life-threatening mistakes they see time and time again, is forgetting your life jacket.
"Most times, accidents when people drown, their life jackets aren't readily accessible, or they're not wearing them," Cummings said.
He added they are important even if you can swim. "In all these lakes in the north, you know, hypothermia sets in very quickly, because the water temperatures are cold."
Although the Auxiliary Coast Guard doesn't have legal authority to make you stay safe, there are some people on the water who do.
"We do a lot of vessel inspections for safety equipment, make sure everybody has their safety equipment like life jackets and fire fighting equipment," Oneida County Sheriff's Department Lieutenant Jim McCarthy said.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary said the best way to stay safe is to take a boater safety course.