Boat launch installations are ongoing across the state, as announced by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Each spring, DEC and State Parks regional staff work to install docks at all sites, often before the opening day for various sportfish species. During the COVID-19 pandemic, boaters and fishers are asked to recreate locally and use the hashtag #RecreateLocal, avoid busy waters, and follow the guidelines on DEC’s website about fishing responsibly.
Schedules for boat launch installations change based on water levels, weather and ice conditions. Most sites are open for public use even if the boarding dock is not installed. Boaters are encouraged to call their regional fisheries office or State Parks to check the boat launch status.
Restrooms at these facilities will remain closed to prevent community spread of COVID-19. Boat launches at DEC campgrounds remain closed.
Information on boating access and launching areas available to the public can be found at on.ny.gov/2XhCUu8, which also includes information on launching/retrieving boats and aquatic invasive species. DEC maintains a photo album of accessible launch and fishing sites for those with mobility issues.
If there are several cars in a parking lot, anglers are asked to consider going to another lot. If an angler is fishing upstream, fish downstream of the other angler or consider fishing another day. Do not share a car with people from a different household while traveling to fishing or boating sites. Anglers fishing from boats should maintain at least 6 feet of distance between one another.
New York’s waters remain cold throughout the spring. Life jacket wear is required through May 1 on pleasure boats less than 21 feet long and dressing in layers is recommended to avoid hypothermia. Boaters should be alert at all times and follow the rules of the nautical road. Under Brianna’s Law, all operators of motorized vessels must take a safe boating course and earn a safe boating certificate by 2025.
Visit dec.ny.gov or parks.ny.gov for information.