Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

March 28, 2024

Dan Keefe | (518) 486-1868 |

State Parks Reminds Boaters to be Cautious of Early Spring Cold Water

OPRHP Cautions Pre-Season Boaters of Water Temperatures for Those Viewing the Eclipse

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) reminds boaters of the dangers of cold water if venturing out this spring for recreation or to view the rare total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8. OPRHP recommends to boaters and paddlers that, even in the first few weeks of spring, the water is still very cold, and precautions should be taken.

"Even though the calendar has turned to spring, we recommend you protect yourself as the temperature fluctuates during the day, night and on our waterways," said New York State Parks Commissioner Pro Tempore Randy Simons. "Our top priority is ensuring that New Yorkers and visitors are safe. Please wear a life jacket, insulated clothing and, for the solar eclipse, make sure to protect your eyes. Our park personnel are welcoming visitors from near and far and want it to be safe and memorable."

State Parks and Historic Sites is hosting a range of events and activities to celebrate the rare total solar eclipse. All campsites that opened early along the path of totality have been filled. However, those patrons who may head to parks or onto bodies of water to experience the eclipse need to be aware as well.

"With spring beginning and the excitement of the eclipse, it can be easy to forget the unforgivable nature of the cold water," said OPRHP Director of Marine and Recreational Services Alexi Howland. "Please make a few adjustments to your planning. We look forward to celebrating with you and having a safe and enjoyable day."

OPRHP reminds park patrons to please keep in mind the following for safe boating:

  • Research the weather and water conditions before you go. Dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature
  • Dress in layers and avoid wearing cotton
  • If you are on or near the water, wear your life jacket
  • If you are going out on a boat that is less than 21' in length, you must wear a lifejacket, regardless of age (applicable between November 1 - May 1)
  • As always, use the buddy system, make sure someone knows your plans for the day
  • Carry your cell phone in a water-proof bag, bring a light, whistle or other sound producing device
  • Protect your eyes with specialized viewing glasses

Additionally, in 2024, all operators of motorized vessels born on or after January 1, 1978, need to carry a safe boating certificate while operating motorized vessels, including personal watercraft. Starting January 1, 2025, a safety certificate will be required of all operators, regardless of age. Both in-person and online options are available for earning a certificate. To learn more, visit:

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which saw a record 84 million visits in 2023. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit, download the free NY State Parks Explorer app or call 518.474.0456. Join us in celebrating our Centennial throughout 2024, and connect with us on FacebookInstagramX (formerly Twitter), and the OPRHP Blog.