Category Archives: Boating

Boating, canoeing, kayaking

NYS DEC Alerts Boaters to Low Water Levels at Many Boat Launches

NYS DEC Alerts Boaters to Low Water Levels at Many Boat Launches

NYS DEC Alerts Boaters to Low Water Levels at Many Boat LaunchesDue to the ongoing drought conditions in New York State, many waters are significantly below average water levels for this time of year. While many DEC boat launches are still useable by shallow draft boats, boaters desiring to launch larger, deeper draft waters may have difficulties on many waters. Of particular concern are DEC boat launches on Lake Champlain.

On Lake Champlain, which is a foot below normal water level elevations for this time of year, most launches currently provide 3.0 ft of water depth. Exceptions are the Ticonderoga Launch which is currently below this level at 2 ft.

Boaters, particularly those desiring to launch larger, deeper draft boats, are encouraged to contact the DEC regional office covering the water they desire to launch their boat onto for updated information.


New Burlington Marina project headed to City Council

New Burlington Marina project headed to City Council

New Burlington Marina project headed to City Council

Available boat slips are at a premium in Burlington harbor.

Burlington’s waterfront could see a change.
To the north of Burlington’s Waterfront Park there’s some mostly city-owned land, that might soon be providing 100+ new boat docking spaces, a public park, a parking lot, and other improvements.

The Burlington City Council’s Board of Finance subcommittee voted unanimously last Monday night to send a development agreement to the full council for a June 27th vote.

Included improvements for the marina project are :

  1. 160 boat docks, with about 60 of them staying open for passing boaters.
  2. Boat launching facility that could double as event space.
  3. A floating breakwater.
  4. A “water taxi” stand.
  5. Fuel docks.
  6. A park that is of “equivalent quality” to Waterfront Park.
  7. A temporary parking plaza.

New Burlington Marina project headed to City Council

The new Burlington Marina project would fall under tax increment financing (TIF), a way for government to incentivize development where the private sector might otherwise avoid spending money. A TIF district would draw money from property taxes.

In this case, four parts of the project are eligible for a slice of the $500,000 the city has set aside for TIF projects. The public park and parking lot both could be funded halfway by TIF money. The parking plaza, along with environmental impact assessments and soil testing, are eligible to be paid for completely by the tax increment financing.

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Procedures for Entering the U.S. by boat from Canada

Procedures for Entering the U.S. by boat from Canada

Procedures for Entering the U.S. by boat from CanadaLake Champlain hosts many boaters each summer and many of those who enjoy the lake are visiting from Canada. As an international waterway, Lake Champlain is easily available to be explored.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection reminds boaters arriving in the U.S. from Canada to follow proper reporting procedures.

U.S. boaters must report to CBP:
  • After having visited any foreign port or place
  • After having had contact with any hovering vessel
  • After having received merchandise outside the U.S. territorial waters.
Canadian boaters must report to CBP:
  • When they touch U.S. soil
  • When making contact with any hovering vessel
CBP clearance may be obtained by following one of these procedures:
  • Report for inspection at the nearest open marina CBP port of entry: Cape Vincent, Heart Island and Lake Champlain.
  • If you are in possession of a pre-approved Form I-68 or are a member of a CBP Trusted Traveler Program (e.g. NEXUS or Global Entry) you can call 1-800-827-2851 to report your arrival.
  • All other boaters must report their arrival utilizing a CBP videophone at one of the following stations: Dunkirk, Erie Basin Marina (Buffalo), North Tonawanda, Youngstown, Wilson, Olcott, Point Breeze, Rochester, Sodus Point, Oswego, Sackets Harbor, Clayton, Alexandria Bay, Morristown, Ogdensburg and Waddington.
  • The Small Vessel Reporting System enables boaters to report their arrival from foreign waters. It is a free, voluntary program with online enrollment. New applicants register online and schedule an interview with a CBP officer at an authorized reporting location of their choice.


As required by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, U.S. and Canadian citizens must present a WHTI-compliant travel document for entry into the U.S. by land and sea. For complete WHTI information, please visit

Boaters who have an I-68 form will need to follow the travel document requirements. WHTI-compliant documents (U.S. Passport Card, Enhanced Driver’s License/Enhanced Identification Card, I-551 card or passport) enable you to use telephone clearance procedures for I-68 holders. The I-68 form is not considered an identity or travel document, and is available at U.S. ports of entry.

To speed inspection, boaters should have the following information available for CBP inspection:

  • Name, date of birth and citizenship of all persons on board
  • Name of the boat and/or boat registration number
  • U.S. decal number (if 30 feet or longer)
  • Home port and current location


Boaters and frequent cross-border travelers should join the NEXUS program. NEXUS cardholders use a special, rapid entry process when crossing the U.S.-Canada border. For more information on NEXUS, visit the website: CBP Trusted Traveler Programs

Lake Champlain

This 128-page softcover book features stunning historical images from the archives of Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and other regional collections, and includes chapters on Patriotic Sites and Celebrations; Commerce in the Canal Era; The Age of Steam; Crossing Lake Champlain; Recreational Boating; Summer and Summer Folk; Hunting and Fishing; and Winter. ‘Lake Champlain’ tells the story of this historic, busy commercial corridor and recreational destination.

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Cold Water Boating Hazards

After a long, cold… very cold… North Country winter, we’re all looking forward to warmer weather recreational activities. These first warm days of spring often attract boaters and other recreational enthusiasts to the many beautiful lakes, rivers, and streams across Vermont and northern New York.

Particular caution is necessary early in the boating season across the North Country

This week’s rescue of three kayakers from Lake Champlain illustrates the need for proper precaution. Two of the kayaks capsized dumping the boaters into Lake Champlain. Fortunately they were able to be towed to Valcour Island by the third kayaker, and eventually rescued and treated for hypothermia.

The Hazard of Cold Water BoatingThe National Weather Service (NWS) in Burlington, Vermont urges extreme caution when boating, canoeing, or kayaking during the spring, when water temperatures typically remain dangerously cold in the event of a capsize.

Boaters should be aware of the dangers posed by cold water temperatures. On pleasantly warm and dry days in April and May, it is easy to forget that the water temperature is much responds more slowly to seasonal changes and warms much more slowly than the air temperature.

Rivers are often still affected by melting snow runoff from the mountains. Lakes continue to up-well cold water from below until a temperature of 39°F, and then increase in temperature slowly based on amount and days of sunshine, near surface air temperature, and the size of the body of water. On Lake Champlain, climate records indicate that surface water temperatures are typically in the upper 30s in late April, and only rise into the 40s during May.

Cold Water Immersion

Immersion in cold water can quickly become life threatening. If you capsize in water with temperatures in the upper 30s and 40s, hypothermia can occur in a matter of minutes. Since water conducts body heat away up to 26 times faster than air of the same temperature, the cold water rapidly weakens the extremities – making them numb and weakening the ability of muscles to work effectively.

Protect Yourself From Danger When Cold Water Boating

The NWS urges the following safety measures to protect yourself and maximize your enjoyment of area waterways:

  • Consider postponing small craft boating activities until water temperatures become warmer in late spring and summer.

    Cold Water Boating Hazards

    PFD Wear it !

  • If you do choose to boat, canoe, or kayak in April or May, wear a dry suit appropriate for water temperatures in the high 30s and 40s.
  • Wear all recommended protective gear to guard against the cold water in the event of an accident or capsize.
  • Remember, no matter the season, when you are on the water, always wear your life jacket.

Safe boating is no accident!

Take the time to think safety first and plan appropriately for weather and water conditions before heading out on lakes, rivers, and streams.

Further Hypothermia Information:

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