It was a busy season for law enforcement and first responders on Lake George – even as signs from boat launch stewards indicated a slight decline in boats entering the water.
The Lake George Park Commission marine patrol issued 187 tickets in 2022, up from 128 in 2021, including five boating while intoxicated tickets, two more than last year. The patrol team responded to 733 complaints, up from 635 in 2021, and issued 1,101 warnings, up from 1,009 the previous year.
The crews also responded to a wide array of incidents, including domestic disturbance calls at island campgrounds, numerous accidents of people jumping from rocks, an out-of-control mushrooms trip, reckless drone use, multiple drownings and a gun-toting man who lit a dock on fire with fireworks.
“There’s a guy with a fire extinguisher and beer can trying to put it out,” Lt. Joe Johns, who leads the patrol crews, said during a presentation at Tuesday’s commission meeting.
They even helped William Shatner (famous for Priceline commercials and something else), whose boat got stuck on the lake this summer.
Johns said patrol crews are encountering new behaviors and emergencies on the lake and that next year patrols may train to respond to other drug overdoses. “We are seeing more and more things on the islands,” Johns said.
The increased policing activity came during a boating season where early reports suggest traffic was down. Some people have theorized that high gas prices lessened boat use across the Adirondacks. Park commission boat stewards saw some slight decreases in launch activity, according to a preliminary report to the commissioners.
Like the Adirondack Watershed Institute’s stewards program, the park commission struggled to fill all of the positions, leaving some launches understaffed. Justin Luyk, who manages the commission’s stewards, said they started the season with three people hired at the Million Dollar Beach launch. “That’s probably a quarter of what we need,” he told the commission.
Editor’s note: This first appeared in Zach’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.